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Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools adopts new substance abuse policy | News

The Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board on Monday night approved an updated chemical use and abuse policy for the district’s students.

The board approved the new policy, which shortens punishment lengths and gives incentives for students who seek treatment, by a 5-1 vote, with board member Mary Frantz dissenting. Board member Melissa Enger was absent.

While not as strict as the former policy, the new guidelines still represent the strictest in the South Suburban Conference, Activities Director Russ Reetz told board members.

For the first offense under the newly approved policy, a student will lose eligibility to participate in their activity for 25 percent of the number of consecutive interscholastic contests or games, or two weeks — whichever amount of time is greater.

For the second offense, students will lose eligibility for 50 percent of interscholastic contests. If the student participates in an independent chemical evaluation, they can reduce that sentence down to three weeks or six contests.

Following a third offense, students will lose eligibility for one calendar year. If the student enters a treatment program, that can be reduced to four weeks or 12 consecutive contests.

Under the former policy, students lost eligibility to participate in their activities for anywhere from six weeks to a year to the rest of their school career, depending on the number of violations. Reetz said his hope is the new policy will serve as a consequence while also encouraging students to seek help for their substance abuse so they can still participate.

“The goal here is to get our athletes back in our programs working with our coaches,” Reetz told the school board. “(The policy) still has teeth. I’m still asking that our students serve a consequence. What I’m asking is for the second and third violation we provide some incentive for them to…

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