NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – School leaders in New Hanover County changed their student substance abuse policy Tuesday night.
The policy still follows the "Zero Tolerance" approach, which means a mandatory long term suspension or a mandatory expulsion with no exceptions, but now school leaders will be able to look at all circumstances before suspending or expelling students.
In 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue called for the discontinuance of "Zero Tolerance" in a law that revised the state's school discipline code. The new laws called for school superintendents to take into account all of the circumstances surrounding incidents.
This change was to protect students who may just make some bad choices. But New Hanover County's Substance abuse policy still stated that the board takes a "Zero Tolerance" position "on the selling of any illegal substance, medical prescription or facsimiles on school grounds at any time."
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rick Holliday says that although the policy stated "Zero Tolerance," the board was not following it.
"When we were reviewing our policies this is one that we needed to remove that language from," Holliday said. "It doesn't change how we deal with substance abuse. We still deal with substance abuse and violators appropriately, but the language simply isn't supported in the general statue."
Holliday says the changing of the policy is a routine clean up so that New Hanover County's policies are in agreement with state law.
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