Chilliwack school district sticks with drug and alcohol policy – for now

Chilliwack school district’s drugs and alcohol policy will remain as is, but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming down the pipe.

Chilliwack school district’s drugs and alcohol policy will remain as is, but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming down the pipe.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Chilliwack Board of Education approved to keep Policy 500, Drugs and Alcohol, as is at the recommendation of the Education Policy Advisory Committee.

The committee, which has representation from trustees, administration, teachers, support staff, parents and students, felt students needed the boundaries outlined in the policy.

“The students [on the committee] spoke very clearly and unanimously in that we needed to maintain our position in this policy,” said trustee Doug McKay, who sits on the committee.

The only trustee in opposition of the current policy was trustee Barry Neufeld.

Neufeld, a former probation officer and restorative justice facilitator with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, said the policy is a disservice to a large portion of Chilliwack’s student body.

“With all due respect to the students on this committee, I don’t really think they adequately represent the kids who are struggling and don’t feel connected to their community,” said Neufeld.

“This policy is archaic, punitive, and not worthy of a modern education system.”

Neufeld said the policy, which encourages a drugs- and alcohol-free school environment, does more harm than good.

“Students with addiction problems, they have a disease, they’re sick. When they’re going through troubling times, removing them from their friends and school environment will only make it worse,” he said.

“If we’re really serious about wanting to increase graduation rates, then this policy is totally out of sync.”

But policy is a belief statement, not a directive, said trustee McKay.

Where changes may still occur is in the drugs and alcohol regulation, which is a directive created by senior management and administration.

Currently, that regulation is zero tolerance for secondary school students.

Supt. Evelyn Novak told The Progress the drugs and alcohol regulation will undergo a review sometime in January or February, in which principals and vice principals will have an opportunity to provide input.

She also said students and parents may also be surveyed.

“We’re going to take a look at the research, what’s working and not working, how this fits with what we currently want to happen, and how we work with students,” said Novak.

A couple of incidences this year was the impetus for the district taking a closer look at its drugs and alcohol policy and regulation.

In September, 10 Grade 12 students at Sardis secondary were expelled for admitting to smoking marijuana while on a school-sanctioned soccer tournament.

“I think because of the number of students at one time, because of the groups involved, it shone a light on the policy and regulation,” said Novak. “And we had feedback from parents and students.

“We want to be responsive to our staff, as well as our community.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read