Pubdate: Sat, 15 Dec 2007
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2007 The Western Star
Author: Gary Kean, The Western Star


Much like the police response, schools deal with incidents of illegal
activity on their grounds on a case-by-case basis and need to consider
a wide range of factors to discipline and help the students involved.

Earlier this week, two students at G.C. Rowe Junior High School were
arrested after a staff member who had suspected illegal drug activity
reported it to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The boys, aged 14 and 15, were apprehended and a small quantity of
marijuana and a small amount of cash was seized from them. In
accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the two boys were
released with a warning.

When incidents such as this occur, any further action would involve
the school itself.

Eugene May, the Western School District's education officer for
student achievement and student support services, said the school's
administration can go two different ways when handling such
situations. Under the Schools Act, the principal may take punitive
measures and suspend a student from one to five days, or more if the
circumstances warranted.

Whether a suspension is levied or not, the school will also focus on
the needs of the young person involved. This could involve working
with the family and other relevant resources to help the student
transition back into the classroom.

"We have worked diligently with schools and they have become very good
at developing re-entry plans for students in conjunction with parents,
guidance counsellors and often involving other agencies, including
counselling, addiction services, future monitoring and so on," said

While the focus is always on the best interests of the student, May
emphasized that teachers and administrators are asked to always notify
the police if they suspect a student is involved in any sort of
illegal activity.

May would not speak about whether the two boys involved in this week's
incident would be suspended or what other measures would be taken by
the school to deal with them.
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