New policy to curb increasing District 51 drug expulsions

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. After a 73% increase in drug related expulsions in just one year, District 51 officials are hard at work to change their policies in hopes of bringing that number down.

Right now District 51's drug policy states students with a first offense are suspended for five days, but have a chance to lower that to three days by taking a drug education class.

The schools partner with Mind Springs Health so a therapist can determine whether they were just experimenting or have an addition problem.

If the student falls into that more serious category they are referred to a free 12 week therapy program funded through a grant.

Unfortunately, students are not taking advantage of the help at hand and officials say something has to change.

"A way to provide pretty intensive services on campus during an in school suspension so that it's really not optional," Cathy Haller, District 51.

Instead of students being at home during their suspension officials want to create a space where they spend their time out of school learning how to change their lives because if they are caught a second time they will likely be expelled.

Another part of the new policy is to get students involved in pro-social activities that will teach troubled kids about the importance of giving back to the community.

District 51 officials are in the process of writing a grant to the Colorado Department of Human Services to fund the new policy.

They need $120,000 for this project and officials say even if they don't get the money they will think of other ways to fundraise.

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