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The Maine Approach

ELEMENT 2 - Policies and Procedures


Policy must be developed that is clear and concise yet contains language that offers direct and unbiased action for those involved. It must include disciplinary action as well as a mechanism for voluntary referrals. A policy that is balanced between creating and maintaining a safe environment and clear limit setting stands the best chance of success. Policy and procedures provide the legal protection for a school system to provide accountability for both its youth and adults. There are

Four essential sections in the development of ATOD policy and procedures:

  1. Statement of Philosophy
    Each school system and the community(ies) it serves need to develop a broad philosophy statement regarding ATOD use, abuse, dependency, and prevention.
  2. Rules and Boundaries
    Rules are concise statements which set firm standards about use and distribution of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. They set clear boundaries as limits for acceptable and ` unacceptable behavior.
  3. Procedures
    Procedures are specific steps to be followed when there is a violation of school rules, or when a concerned person wishes to refer a student for assistance before disciplinary action is needed. Consistent interpretation and enforcement of these procedures ensures a balanced approach in the schools. Disciplinary procedures help create an environment free from ATOD use and distribution. Equally, voluntary referral procedures create a place in which it is safe to ask for help. Written procedures need to be clearly and precisely defined and clearly understood by all. They ensure that every student and staff member is treated fairly. Procedures are meant to be consistent; consequences, on the other hand, following the procedures, may be somewhat flexible.
  4. Student Assistance Team
    The Student Assistance Team is a school based team of professionals that identifies and refers students. The Student Assistance Team procedure is compliant with Section 504 of P.L. 93-112. It provides students with a prevention/referral process that ensures they have free appropriate public education, as required by Section 504. The SAT provides school personnel with a process to restructure how they provide educational and support services to children and families. The purpose of the Student Assistance Team is to redirect students exhibiting "risky" behaviors before they experience school or social failure. It also provides a link for services from children and families to community agency personnel. The Student Assistance Team may serve as a pre-referral procedure for the Special Education Pupil Evaluation Team process, therefore ensuring more appropriate referrals to special education based on learning behaviors. The Student Assistance Team provides a vehicle for the entire system to engage in a problem solving process in the student s best interest.


(Rating your understanding from 1 to a high of 5 may help in your planning and evaluation.)

The district policy regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs:

_____ Defines the roles and responsibilities of students, staff, administrators and visitors to the school.
_____ Reflects the values and beliefs of the district.
_____ Clearly articulates the regulations and procedures, stating the ranges of sanctions which each particular infraction will incur.
_____ Encourages people with ATOD concerns to seek help, and shows them how and where to access such assistance.
_____ Enhances support of the whole person: physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual.
_____ States the plan for ongoing policy dissemination.
_____ Describes the district's substance abuse prevention curriculum.
_____ States that referral for prosecution for illegal behavior will result.
_____ States that sanctions up to and including expulsion for students, and termination o employment for employees may result for serious infractions.
_____ Coordinates with appropriate other district policies to address unhealthy behaviors maximize consistent messages and prescribe consequences.
_____ Assures that the policy is revised every two years.
_____ Contains a clear "no use" message for students.
_____ Addresses use, possession, distribution, sale, and manufacture of ATOD on school grounds and at school-sponsored activities.
_____ Discusses the harm caused by ATOD.
_____ Reflects developmentally appropriate consequences.
_____ Supports the establishment of a Student Assistance Team. Includes students, staff, and parents in its development and revisions.
_____ Requires dissemination to town government and law enforcement officials so they are conversant in school policy.

Revised March 1995.

Maine Office of Substance Abuse
#11 State House Station
A.M.H.I. Complex, Marquardt Building
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Main Office: 207-287-2595
Information and Resource Center: 1-800-499-0027 (In-State Only)or 207-287-8900
TTY : 1-800-606-0215

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