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Substance Use: PSS 211




Substance Use:  PSS 211

Adoption Date: February 25, 2008



This policy applies to all students under the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.



The purpose of this policy is to promote prevention through education and to link consequences to student growth.


Policy Statement         

To provide the greatest opportunity for growth and development, the school environment must be substance free.  The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board realizes that it shares the responsibility with the community for addressing substance issues.  The Board recognizes the value of a preventive, supportive approach in dealing with substances and believes in the provision of such measures as substance education, early intervention and treatment.  However, the Board also acknowledges the need for an overall policy which is not permissive in nature, and clearly outlines sanctions against illegal substance use.  It is intended that these sanctions be applied by school administrators with a view to achieving a reasonable balance between providing assistance and deterring unacceptable activities. 

Students shall not knowingly possess, prepare, use, transmit, sell, provide or be under the influence of a substance:

  • on school property;
  • school property at a school event or school related activity.

In support of prevention, it is important to apply consistent consequences to students who abuse the rules related to substance use.   Appropriate consequences serve to prevent further use by the student and deter use by other students.

A Substance refers to any chemical that affects living processes, other than food, that is taken into the body for non-medical purpose, or in non-accordance with a medical prescription.  This includes, but is not limited to alcohol, cannabis, inhalants / solvents, depressants, narcotics / opiates, hallucinogens, mixed action drugs, performance enhancing drugs and stimulants.

Through this comprehensive approach to substance education, prevention, and intervention, we can be assured that the school board has provided the best possible care to ensure healthy, competent students who are prepared to benefit from all the school system has to offer.

The Substance Use Policy and Procedures Agreement encompasses: a) Prevention Through Education; b) Consequences; c) Follow up, Support, and Re-entry.


Prevention Through Education

Prevention is the first and primary focus of substance education.  As the effectiveness of prevention increases, the need for intervention and treatment decreases.


Follow-up, Support, and Re-entry

The Follow-up, Support, and Re-entry process increases the effectiveness of successful student assistance.  When a student participates in an out of school intervention, careful attention must be given to the student upon return.  The Follow-up, Support and Re-entry process ensures that the student has an increased chance of ongoing success as a result of the intervention.


Cross Reference          

Provincial School Code of Conduct and School Code of Conduct Guidelines.



This policy has been authorized by the Board under motions number  2008-02-06.



It is the responsibility of the Director of Programs and Student Services to ensure that this policy and administrative procedures are implemented.



The Coordinator of Student Services and the Coordinator of School Services, with the assistance of the Active Healthy Living Consultant, will implement the policy and administrative procedures.



Prevention Through Education

The School Board acknowledges that substance education is a fundamentally important component of a comprehensive approach to dealing with substance related issues.  It is acknowledged further, that students will be more likely to make appropriate decisions about substances with preventative measures; therefore, it is recommended:

1.         That substance awareness be introduced at the early elementary level and be part of the curriculum at all grade levels;

2.         That positive extra-curricular activities be encouraged to support substance education;

3.         That communication be encouraged among parents, teachers, students, and community.

Steps to be Taken

1.                   All schools shall have a Substance Awareness Committee.

2.                   The Active Healthy Living Consultant shall keep school administrators and parent representatives informed about available resources.  This should be done through principals’ meetings to ensure information is being properly targeted.

3.                   Substance education shall be included under Health Education.  All updated resources shall be integrated into various curriculum areas at all grade levels including: (a) P-6 Health Program; (b) 7-9 PDR / Family Studies; (c) High School Physical Education/Health and Physically Active Lifestyle with integration into other subjects whenever possible.

4.                   Substance education materials (including information on prescription drugs) shall be accurate, current, and grade appropriate.

5.                   Teachers shall be encouraged to conduct classes with persons such as peer educators, community police services, pharmacists, and representatives of health agencies (e.g. addiction services personnel), representatives of self-help groups.

6.                   The School Board administration shall encourage school personnel to provide a range of extra curricular activities which provide and support substance education in promoting healthy lifestyles.

7.                   The School Board administration shall keep school personnel and students, as well as community and parent / teacher groups, well informed about Substance Policy and Procedures.

8.                   School personnel should be encouraged to provide educational programs on substances to all students in order to develop factual knowledge, and programs to enhance self-esteem, promote effective decision-making skills, and encourage the development of a lifestyle free from dependence on substances whenever possible.

9.                   The Coordinator of Program Services and the Coordinator of Student Services, with the assistance of the Active Healthy Living Consultant, shall assess the quality of the existing education program concerned with substance abuse through examining issues such as the amount of time students are exposed to the program and the availability of staff and material resources.  Programs offered by the CB-VRSB shall be assessed as well as programs offered by other agencies/groups such as police services, health agencies and volunteer groups.

10.               School Advisory Councils should be involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the program.

11.               Staff and team leaders/coaches will be given orientation session(s) dealing with the implementation of this policy and its procedures.


Steps to be Taken

It is the responsibility of all staff members to report to a school administrator actual or suspected cases of student substance use or trafficking on or around school property or off school property, during a school event or school related activity.

1)         First time under the influence and/or simple possession (first offence). The main focus is on education, prevention, and rehabilitation:

1.1        Intervene immediately with student.

1.2        Seek medical attention, if deemed necessary.

1.3        Remove student from classroom or school event.

1.4        Notify school administrator.

1.5        Notify parent(s)/guardian(s), or a responsible adult.

1.6        Student shall be suspended from school and school board related activities for a minimum of 2 days, with a maximum of 5 days.

1.7        In addition, student shall be suspended from all teams and/or extra-curricular activities for 30 school days.

1.8        Student is referred to an intervention counselor such as a guidance counselor, social worker, teen health center staff for an initial assessment to determine appropriate intervention (ie.  Referral to Addiction Services or appropriate counseling agency).

1.9        If deemed necessary, the School Administrator shall inform the police of the situation.  In this instance, the parent or guardian shall be advised that the student will be interviewed by the police, allowing parents/guardians time to be present for the interview if they wish.

Second Violation of Policy

1.1        Intervene immediately with student.

1.2        Seek medical attention, if deemed necessary

1.3        Remove student from classroom or school event.

1.4        Notify school administrator.

1.5        Notify parent(s)/guardian(s), or a responsible adult.

1.6        Student shall be suspended for a period of 5 days before returning to school.  Student is expected to show evidence of referral to an appropriate counseling agency such as Addiction Services.  A second offence shall also result in removal from all teams and/or extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year.  Where the second offence occurs within two months (May or June) of the end of the academic year, the student shall be suspended from all teams and/or extra-curricular activities for the remainder of the academic school year and for the first semester of the next academic year.

Third Violation of Policy

A student who has committed two subsequent offences in a previous school year will be eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities and teams the following school year.  However, this participation would be one of probationary status.  If a subsequent offence were to occur, it would mean the termination from all extra-curricular activities for the remainder of the student’s school attendance within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

2)         Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking:  “Traffic” means, in respect of a substance:  (a) to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send of deliver the substance, (b) to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or (c) to offer to do anything mentioned in (a) or (b). 

2.1        Immediately notify school administrator.

2.2        The police should immediately be contacted and the matter dealt with by them.

2.3        A suspension of a minimum of five days should take place with recommendations for further action.

2.4        Once the student is introduced back into the school environment, they should be referred to the appropriate agencies for assistance.

2.5        Repetition of any student found to have been trafficking should result in indefinite suspension from school as determined by the School Board.

Legal Power and Obligations

1.                   In consultation with legal counsel, the School Board shall develop a forum for school personnel with respect to their rights, powers and obligations relating to the questioning, search, and detention of students and the seizure of a substance.

2.                   The School Board shall provide school administrators with this forum and shall otherwise educate and update school personnel to such an extent and in such a manner as is deemed appropriate.

3.                   School administrators and other school personnel shall follow established guidelines and procedures with respect to their rights, powers, and obligations.


Associated Forms        

Request Forms


Policy Review              

This policy will be reviewed by the Director of Programs and Student Services within three years.



Board Members and all Policy Manual Holders.

See also
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