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School Board to add synthetic drugs to ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy

With winter weather looming, the Johnson County Board of Education met on Thursday evening and immediately got down to business, launching an initiative to combat synthetic drugs in local schools by approving the first reading of a “zero tolerance” policy for the offense in the school system. Although the board already has a stringent anti-drug policy in place, ever-changing, unknown formulas for mimic drugs render ambiguity to the current policy. This addition to the policy should take care of that.
The current policy states: “In accordance with state law, any student who unlawfully possesses any drug including any controlled substance or legend drug shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year.” The addition would cover “synthetic drugs that are used or are intended for the use in an abusive and/or intoxicating fashion and substances that ‘look alike’ a controlled substance are prohibited.”
“We have had this come up,” JCHS principal Lisa Arnold said, “and we really need a formal policy in place to deter this danger from our school. We want to be pro-active when it comes to this kind of destructive behavior.” Synthetic drugs, such as K2, often packed as potpourri or herbal incense and sold in convenience stores, mimic the effects of marijuana. The K2 or spice, as it is also known, contains organic leaves coated with chemicals that provide a marijuana-like high when smoked.
K2 “fake weed” causes the usual side effects of marijuana, like sleepiness, relaxation, reduced blood pressure, and at high doses, hallucinations and delusions. However, unlike marijuana, K2 also produces increased agitation, elevated blood pressure and high heart rates. The substance can also cause hallucinations, vomiting, agitation and other dangerous side effects.
In other action, the board appointed Howard Carlton to serve on the 2012-2013 school year calendar committee with Vice-Chairperson Ann Parsons appointed as alternate to that committee.
Student board member Lauren Martinez provided an update. She informed the board of an upcoming student assembly on the awareness of drug addiction sponsored and coordinated by school health. She also reminded the board of the JCHS basketball homecoming, which is scheduled for Thursday, January 26th. Martinez also congratulated fellow students Brittany Garr, who placed 60th in a field of 160 students in East Tennessee and was chosen for senior clinic band, and Kevin Eller, who recently made All-East Honors Chorus and will compete for Tennessee All-State Honors Chorus in April.
School Finance Coordinator Russell Robinson provided an update in regards to the current budget situation. He reported a decrease in both sales tax and property tax as compared to the same time period last year.
The following personnel decisions were presented by the Director of Schools –
Hires – Rebecca Herman as JCHS English Teacher
Resignation – Jacob Dorton as JCHS teacher