5175 - Possession, Sale, Distribution and Use of Illegal Substances

Policy 5175 Possession, Sale, Distribution and Use of Illegal Substances title box


It is the policy of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District that no student shall knowingly distribute, possess, use, sell, give, be in the presence of or otherwise transmit, or be under the influence of any illegal drug, regulated substance, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia or mind/behavior altering substance on any school property, or at any school-sponsored activity.


The Districts recognize that all students have a right to receive an appropriate education in an alcohol free and drug free environment. Therefore, the Boards encourage educational programs that provide every student with an understanding of the physical, psychological, social and legal dangers associated with substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse dependency are treatable health problems that are primarily the responsibility of the home and the community.

The schools share this responsibility in the areas of prevention (education) and intervention (identification and referral) with the larger community by providing a system for support and referral for students involved with alcohol or drug use on school property or at school functions due to their own or another’s use of alcohol or other drug. Additionally the Boards believe that the community and schools share in this responsibility because chemical problems interfere with behavior, learning, and the fullest possible development of each student.


  1. The term "drug(s)" as used in this policy includes any narcotic substance, hallucinogenic substance, any substance taken which creates an altered state and all chemical and controlled substances as defined by State or Federal law, including, but not limited to, those described and/or listed in the schedules in the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §812 (or successor statutes). Such drugs include, but are not limited to, substances commonly known as marijuana, LSD, cocaine, crack, heroin, amphetamine and methamphetamine, barbiturates and anabolic steroids. The term "drug(s)" also includes all prescription medicines, except when used or possessed in accordance with the school prescription medication policy (See Policy 5176).
  2. Vermont of Education Manual of Rules and Practices §4211 defines "alcohol and drug abuse" as "the ingestion of a substance in such a way that it interferes with a person’s ability to perform physically, intellectually, emotionally or socially."

Sanctions and Responses

  1. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action following the accompanying Administrative Regulations and Policy 5050 [“Discipline of Students”].
  2. Administrators, or their designees, may, after making a reasonable determination that a student is in violation of this policy, refer that student to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
  3. Administrators, or their designees may, after making the same reasonable determination of violation, and after receiving the appropriate releases from the student, refer that student to other appropriate agencies or programs in the community for treatment, counseling and rehabilitation.
  4. Students with Disabilities: If a student with a disability under the IDEA or Section 504 violates this policy, the Administration shall refer to Vermont Department of Education Special Education Regulations Section 4312 - Long-term Suspension or Expulsion of Students with a Disability or Students who are Disabled According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Cross References:

Policy 5050 - Discipline of Students, Suspension and Expulsion
Policy 5176 - Prescription Medications in School
Policy 5085 - Search and Seizure

Legal References:

Safe & Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act - 20 U.S.C. §§7101 et seq.
Controlled Substances Act - 21 U.S.C. §812
Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention Education Curriculum - 16 V.S.A. §909
Alcohol and Drug Abuse - 16 V.S.A. §1165
Comprehensive Health Education - 16 V.S.A. §131
Drugs: minors, treatment, consent - 18 V.S.A. §4226
Selling on School Grounds - 18 V.S.A. §4237
Definitions - 21 V.S.A. §511
State Board of Ed. Manual of Rules and Practices §§4200-4215

Policy 5175 warning and adoption dates