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Party bust sparks policy discussion

A Nov. 30 party results in 24 MIP citations as school district considers changes to rules


On Nov. 30, 24 youths were cited for minor in possession during a party in rural Newberg.

“Someone called in an area check for a loud party. The person who called in was (the parent of) one of the intoxicated people,” said Capt. Tim Svenson of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s office. “The crux of it was the parents were out of town, someone invited a handful of friends over to a movie night and it got out of control. It’s a pretty standard response.”

But the incident, in which a handful of students are athletes at Newberg High School, has sparked some informal discussion into the school’s student code of conduct.

The district may be looking at possible changes in our policy as it relates to activities and athletics participants and drug/alcohol use,” said Tim Burke, NHS athletic director.
“The consideration began in November, after an incident. At this point in time, only informal conversations have occurred among district and high school administrators.

Current policy operates under a four-offense system.

“No activity/athletic participant shall illegally possess, use, distribute, sell or be under the influence of alcohol, performance enhancing drugs, inhalants or controlled substances of any kind except as prescribed by a medical professional,” according to the code of conduct.

The code dictates that a first offense will result in suspension from 33 percent of the total number of performances or contests in the athlete’s current season.

“This takes place from the date that knowledge of the violation became known to a school official,” the code reads. “In the event of a first offense, if there is not 33 percent of the performances/ contest remaining, the count will resume with the first performance/contest of the next activity/athletic season in which the participant is involved.”

Students can also not attend practices or meetings in any extracurricular programs for one calendar week and have to complete a chemical dependency assessment.

A second offense warrants suspension from 67 percent of performances and contests, a third results in a full calendar year suspension and a fourth means the student faces full exclusion from all activity and athletic programs.

In this situation, Burke said the disciplinary actions taken are confidential.

“Any situation confirmed by the school administration has and will result in the consequences outlined in the policy,” he said.

However, the general student population’s code is looser for students caught using alcohol or drugs.

“Students do not have the right to attend school or school activities under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” the code states. There are no consequences outlined in the event of use during school or outside of school.

Burke said there are approximately 530 students who participate in athletics at NHS, making them about one-third of the general 1,500 student population.

He added that there has been no discussion about stricter policy or implementing random drug testing.

Mikaela Schamp, executive assistant to Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, said the school board is aware of the situation.

“The Board Policy Committee meets every two to three months to review policy updates and needs. The next policy cycle will be toward the end of January/beginning of February,” Schamp said. “Administrative level discussions will occur as to whether there is a need for modifications or updates to policy. If administrators or Policy Committee members identify needs in these areas they will be reviewed.”




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