School board opens discussion on new drug policy

Humboldt, IA – The Humboldt School District will be taking take a strong stance against drugs as the Board opens up discussions on a new policy.

On Monday, Feb. 17 during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Education for Humboldt Community Schools a discussion was opened up regarding the current drug policy used by the district. Specific concerns brought forward by Board President Tate Satern was the current policy being to open for discretion from case to case if a student were to be found in possession, selling or using drugs.

Satern brought to the meeting a couple of different examples of policies from other districts in the state that he felt were examples of where he would like to see the district move towards. West Des Moines was addressed multiple times for their policy having specific protocols for what the student be found in possession with and how to handle the situation.

Middles School Principal Brenda Geitzenauer and High School Principal Lori Westhoff were asked to contribute heavily in the discussions by Satern. He asked them about experiences with current policy and how the board might gear policy to better assist administrators and teachers.

Geitzenauer said there was only one incident at the middle school involving a student in possession and felt the punishment was firm and reasonable. She said there is room for improvement on the current policy but want to make sure each case is not cookie cutter. To clarify she and the board agreed that someone found in possession of medication should not be placed in the same category as someone found with an illicit drug. “The law looks at certain things differently, so should schools” Satern said.

Westhoff said updating the policy to have specific protocols would be helpful but brought up concerns about seeking the students help. The Board echoed these concerns both as an availability of programs in the area as well as financially who shoulders the cost of the services. The board will be looking further into grants and services in the area.

Satern asked both principals about the trend of drugs in their respective schools and whether it has been steady, increasing or decreasing. Geitzenauer said she has only seen the one incident. Westhoff said it has been steady when it comes to illicit drugs but expressed concerns about vaping. She says despite the efforts of the school to educate student of the consequences of vaping students have too much of an invincibility mind setting. Satern also brought up the fact that THC can be put in vape products making it harder to track.

The discussion concluded by Satern saying that point of having the discussion of a new policy on the agenda is so the district can get the conversation started and asked the administration to be heavily involve in the process of writing a new policy. He says the district is serious about a new policy and that “drugs are not okay here”.