Hamden Public Schools District Policies

4118.231(d), 4218.231 - Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco

The Hamden Board of Education is concerned with maintaining a safe and healthy working and learning environment for all staff and students. Medical research indicates that the use or abuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco is hazardous to one's health. In addition to the health hazard to the individual, certified employees are entrusted with the responsibility of imparting knowledge and serving as role models to students. 

The main purpose of this policy is to rehabilitate and assist those employees who are experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs. The Board encourages its employees to come forward with their alcohol and drug-related problems before they reach a level which interferes with their work or personal life. The Board encourages early diagnosis and treatment for substance abuse and supports sound treatment efforts. To assist employees in obtaining early voluntary treatment, the Board encourages employees to seek appropriate help. 

The Hamden Board of Education will establish a drug-free awareness program to inform employees about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace; the district's policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace; any available drug and alcohol counseling, rehabilitation, or employee assistance program; and the penalty that may be imposed on employees for drug or alcohol abuse violations occurring in the workplace. 

In the event an employee does not voluntarily seek help and violates this policy, the employee shall be subject to discipline which may include a letter of reprimand, suspension or termination, even for a first occurrence. Any violation of this policy will be properly documented in the employee's personnel record. In addition to disciplinary action, an employee who violates this policy may be referred to local, state and federal law enforcement authorities for prosecution. 

Under certain circumstances, an employee convicted of alcohol or drug-related crimes may be subject to disciplinary action and/or the sanctions described above. An employee must notify the Superintendent (or his/her designee) of any conviction for such crimes which occurred during the employee's work hours or while engaged in school district business within five (5) calendar days of the conviction. 
In order to provide a safe, drug-free work place for employees and an appropriate and healthy educational environment for students, the Board of Education prohibits employees from engaging in the activities described below. 

In addition, administrative procedures have been developed to aid in the implementation of this policy. Those administrative procedures include, among other provisions, examples of specific employee behavior prohibited by this policy. 

Illegal Drugs

The Hamden Board of Education prohibits the unlawful use, consumption, possession, manufacture, purchase, transfer, storage, sale or offer of sale of illegal drugs* by school district employees on school property, at school sponsored activities, in an employee's personal vehicle located on school property or any vehicle engaged in school district business. Further, employees are prohibited from being under the influence of illegal drugs on school property, while operating school district equipment, at school sponsored activities or in any vehicle while engaged in school district business. 

Legal Drugs 

No legal drugs (i.e., over-the-counter and prescription drugs) shall be brought onto school property, into a school sponsored activity, or into any vehicle engaged in school district business by any person other than the person for whom the drug was properly prescribed. Legal drugs are to be used only in the manner, combination and quantity as prescribed or directed by the employee's physician. If the employee knows or has reason to believe that his/her motor coordination skills and/or regular work activities could be impaired while taking legal drugs, the employee shall notify his/her supervisor that he/she is taking a drug which may cause such impairment and the nature of the impairment. 

Alcohol 

Employees shall not be under the influence, use, consume, possess, serve, manufacture, distribute, purchase, transfer, store, sell or offer to sell alcohol on school property, at school sponsored activities, or in any vehicle engaged in school district business. 

Tobacco 

There shall be no smoking or other use of tobacco products in the school buildings, in the immediate area around the building or in the parking lot during regular school hours, or on transportation provided by the Hamden Board of Education, or during the course of any trip in the presence of students sponsored by the Board or under the supervision of the Board or its authorized agent. 

A copy of this policy and the consequences of violating the policy shall be distributed to all employees of the Hamden Board of Education. Failure to comply with the policy may result in disciplinary action as determined by the administration.

Notification and Review 

All employees shall receive a copy of this policy and accompanying administrative procedures. Employees hired after adoption of this policy shall receive the same prior to commencing a position with the school district. This policy shall be reviewed by each supervisor with his/her staff at least once a year. 

Administrators and supervisors shall notify the Superintendent or his/her designee or any violations of this policy, shall coordinate the handling of such violations with the Superintendent's Office and handle such violations in accordance with the accompanying administrative procedures. 

*Definitions Under This Policy

The term "Illegal Drugs" means any drug (a) not legally obtainable or (b) legally obtainable but not legally obtained or used including any "controlled substance" as defined in Schedules I to V of Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and as further defined in regulations at 21 C.F.R. 1308. 11 to 1308.15. Therefore, the terms include prescription drugs obtained illegally and prescription drugs not being used for prescribed purposes. It also includes marijuana, cocaine, heroin (and derivatives of those drugs) and designer drugs. The terms "Controlled drugs" are those drugs which contain any quantity of a substance which has been designated as subject to federal narcotic laws, or which has been designated as a depressant or stimulant drug pursuant to federal food and drug laws, or which has been designated by the public health council and Commissioner of Consumer Protection pursuant to Section 19-451 as having a stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic effect upon the higher functions of central nervous system and as having a tendency to promote abuse or psychological or physiological dependence, or both. Controlled drugs are classifiable as amphetamine-type, barbiturate-type, cannabis-type, cocaine, hallucinogenic, morphine-type and other stimulant and depressant drugs. Specifically excluded from controlled drugs are alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. 

(cf. - 1331 Smoke Free Environment) 

Legal Reference:  Connecticut General Statutes 
1-21b Smoking prohibited in certain places.
21a-240 Definitions for dependency producing drugs 
Drug-Free Workplace Act. 102 Stat. 4305-4308. 
Drug-Free Schools and Community Act, P.L. 99-570, as amended by P.L. 101-226 (199)
21 U.S.C. 812, Controlled Substances Act, I through V, 202. 
21 C.F.R. 1300.11 through 1300.15 regulation. 
54 Fed. Reg. 4946 (1989) Notice regarding government-wide implementation of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. 

Policy Adopted:  July 18, 1999

Policy Revised:  December 10, 2002

Hamden Public Schools     Hamden, Connecticut


Regulation

The Hamden Board of Education has adopted a policy concerning substance use and abuse in the work place. This regulation outlines the affirmative duties and responsibilities of supervisors and administrators in implementing and interpreting this important Board policy and providing guidance in handling employees with substance abuse problems. The school district's administrators play the key role in ensuring the effectiveness of this policy and therefore their responsibilities must be clearly defined. As with any Board policy and procedure, it may be amended from time to time. All administrators should make certain that they have the latest version of this policy and accompanying procedures in their Board Policy Handbook. 

Employee Assistance For Those Who Voluntarily Seek Help 

The main intent of Policy 4118.231 and these procedures is to rehabilitate and assist those employees who are experiencing problems with alcohol and/or drugs. The Board encourages its employees to seek assistance for their drug and/or alcohol-related problems before they reach a level that interferes with their work or personal life. 

Early recognition and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse is critical to successful rehabilitation. The school district encourages early diagnosis and treatment for substance abuse and supports sound treatment efforts. However, the decision to seek diagnosis and accept treatment for such problems is primarily the responsibility of each individual employee. 

Employees are responsible for any services not covered by their insurance. The Board believes that most persons with substance abuse problems can be treated while continuing in their positions. In those instances where an employee needs leave for treatment purposes the Board will, in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements, accommodate such requests. Further, staff who voluntarily divulge their problems and who sincerely seek assistance may, at the discretion of the Superintendent or his/her designee, be offered an opportunity to participate in a treatment program in lieu of disciplinary action (including termination). This option will not, by way of example, be offered to employees charged with gross misconduct, repeat offenses or selling controlled substances. 

Such voluntary requests for assistance will not prevent disciplinary action for subsequent violations of this substance abuse policy or for failure to meet performance standards. Employees who undergo voluntary counseling or treatment and who continue to work must meet all established standards of conduct and job performance and comply with any agreement governing their treatment/return to work or be subject to discipline. 

Employees undergoing prescribed medical treatment or using any over-the-counter medication which the employee knows or has reason to know may alter their behavior or physical or mental ability must report this treatment to their administrator who will make a determination whether the employee's job assignment should temporarily change during treatment. Employees must keep all prescribed medicine in its original container that identifies the drug, date of prescription and prescribing doctor. 

Actions To Be Taken By An Administrator When There Is A Problem With An Employee Involving Substance Abuse 

  1. The administrator shall document in writing all circumstances, information and facts leading to and supporting his/her suspicion concerning substance abuse as soon as possible following any incident or meeting. At a minimum, the report will include appropriate dates and times of suspect behavior, reliable/credible sources of information, and the action(s) taken if (if any). This documentation may be used as evidence in subsequent grievance or court proceedings. Therefore, administrators should make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein. If a memo is sent to an employee's personnel file, the administrator shall give a copy of the memo to the employee and the Superintendent or his/her designee.

In those cases where an administrator has reasonable suspicion that an employee has violated the policy, he/she will immediately notify the Superintendent or his/her designee of his/her suspicion so that appropriate coordinated action may be taken as well as the actions as outlined below.

Although reasonable suspicion does not require certainty, mere hunches, or suspicion based upon mere rumor, speculation, or unsubstantiated information of unreliable third parties, shall not be sufficient to meet the standard of reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion may include but is not limited to:

 

  1. Observable phenomena, such as direct observation of drug or alcohol use, possession or distribution and/or the physical symptoms of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;
  2. A pattern of abnormal conduct, erratic behavior or deteriorating work performance including but not limited to, frequent absenteeism or tardiness not attributable to other factors and which appears to be related to substance abuse;
  3. Conviction for a drug-related offense or the identification of an employee as the focus of a criminal investigation into illegal drug use, possession or trafficking;
  4. Information regarding violation of this policy provided either by reliable and credible sources or independently corroborated; or
  5. Repeated or flagrant violation of the Board's work codes or policies which is determined by management or administrative staff to pose a substantial risk of physical injury or property damage and which appears to be related to substance abuse.

 

  1. The administrator shall notify the employee (verbal notice is sufficient) that the administrator would like to meet to discuss a problem concerning substance abuse. The administrator shall discuss the employee's suspect behavior with the employee in a private location. If the administrator believes that discipline is likely to be imposed upon the employee or the employee's continued employment is in question, the administrator shall ask the employee if he/she desires union representation. When in doubt, the offer should be made. If the employee has clearly refused union representation, the administrator may continue with the meeting. In any event, the administrator shall make all efforts to conduct such meetings with one witness present who has been selected by the administrator, even if the employee has refused union representation. Caution shall be taken not to accuse the employee of substance abuse, but the employee shall be presented with instances of questionable behavior and shall be reminded of the availability of appropriate help. If the employee does not have an acceptable explanation for his/her questioned behavior, the administrator shall continue with the procedures set forth in this section.
  2. In the instance where an administrator believes an employee is under the influence as defined in the Board's policy, or determines that a person's behavior causes a potential threat of harm to himself/herself or others, the administrator shall immediately remove the employee from the worksite. The determination of "under the influence" rests primarily with the administrator and all efforts should be made to have the administrator's observations corroborated by another individual. whenever possible, another administrator shall be a witness to such action and if an administrator is not available, an employee should, if possible, act as witness. The administrator shall take all possible steps to ensure that the employee does not drive himself/herself away from the premises and that the employee is escorted home. The administrator shall remind the employee of the availability of area services. If the employee refuses a ride home, the administrator shall notify the Hamden Police.

All the above actions will be documented in writing as soon as possible and the Superintendent or his/her designee shall be notified.

  1. In those cases where an employee is sent home, he/she shall be allowed to return to work when the administrator determines that his/her conduct no longer causes a potential threat of harm or injury. However, prior to the employee returning to his or her work assignment a meeting shall be held with the employee, the administrator and the Superintendent or designee to ensure that the employee is able to adhere to all standards of conduct and job performance.
  2. In those cases where an administrator discovers an employee possessing what appears to be a controlled substance, illegal drug or alcohol, he or she shall proceed as described above for instances where reasonable suspicion exists, and, if the substance in question appears to be a controlled substance or illegal drug, shall in addition perform the following steps:

 

  1. Attempt to have employee turn over the substance and all equipment or paraphernalia associated with the substance. Wrap them in any available clean material (e.g., paper towel, copier paper, handkerchief). The administrator shall keep the evidence on her person or where he or she can be absolutely sure it cannot be tampered with.
  2. As soon as the administrator can, he or she shall put the wrapped materials, still in the wrapping, into a large envelope and seal the envelope completely. The administrator's initials shall be written over the seam of the envelope in several places.
  3. The administrator shall write the employee's name, his or her own name, and the date at the top of the envelope, and shall turn it over as soon as possible to the Superintendent or his/her designee, who will turn it over to local law enforcement officials. The administrator shall witness the signing and dating of the envelope by the person to whom he or she surrenders the envelope.
  4. All persons who subsequently and for whatever reason have possession of the envelope shall sign and date it in the presence of the previous custodian.

At the first staff meeting of each year, the Board's Drug-Free Work Place policy shall be reviewed and the employees shall be given an opportunity to ask questions. At the beginning of each school year, it is the responsibility of the administrator to see that each employee in his/her building receives a copy of the policy and the regulations (either through the mail or at the meeting) and that the administrator has a record that the employee obtained the policy and the regulations (sign-in sheet, signed and dated receipt, etc.). Employees hired during the school year shall receive a copy of the policy and regulations through the Personnel Office at the time of their hire. 

Examples Of Employee Conduct Prohibited By The Board's Drug-Free Work Place Policy 

The following list has been provided to give administrators examples of specific employee conduct which are in violation of the Board Policy 4118.231. Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list as it would be impossible to predict every type of employee problem involving substance use and abuse. 

  1. Unauthorized use, possession, manufacture, distribution, dispensation or sale of a controlled substance, illegal drug, drug paraphernalia or alcohol on school property, in the course of school business, during school-sponsored activities (which are defined as only those activities which have been approved in advance by the Superintendent or the Board Education), in school-supplied vehicles, in vehicles used for school purposes, in personal vehicles on school property or business, or during working hours;
  2. Storage in a desk, automobile or other repository on school property or at any school-sponsored activity of any illegal drug, controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, whose use is unauthorized;
  3. Being under the influence of any unauthorized controlled substance, illegal drug or alcohol on school property, in the course of school business, during school-sponsored activities, in school supplied vehicles or vehicles used for school business, in personal vehicles on school property, or during working hours;
  4. Use of alcohol off school property that adversely affects the employee's work, performance, his/her own or others' safety at work, or the school district's regard or reputation in the community,
  5. Possession, use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation or sale of illegal drugs or controlled substances off school property that adversely affects the employee's work, performance, his/her own or others' safety at work, or the school district's regard or reputation in the community;
  6. Failing to adhere to any of the requirements of a drug or alcohol treatment or counseling program in which the employee is enrolled;
  7. Conviction under any criminal drug or alcohol-related statute for a violation occurring in the work place;
  8. Conviction under any criminal drug statute, regardless of where the offense occurred, under circumstances which adversely affects the school district's regard or reputation in the community;
  9. Failure to notify an administrator of the use of a prescription drug which may alter the employee's behavior or physical or mental ability; if the school nurse is notified about this condition, he/she will then notify the Principal,
  10. Failure to notify the Superintendent within five (5) days of any conviction for alcohol or drug-related crimes.

Sanctions for Violation of Tobacco Policy 

1.    First Offense
Upon the first violation an employee found to be smoking in the school building at any time or on the school grounds during regular school hours, or at school related activities, will be warned verbally that he/she is violating the school no smoking policy and that further violation will lead to a written warning, information on cessation program and possible disciplinary action by the Superintendent.

2.    Second Offense
An employee who violates the policy a second time will receive a written warning which describes the school's policy, information regarding cessation programs in the area and the consequences of a third and fourth violation.

3.    Third Offense
Upon the third violation, an employee will receive a second written warning. A copy of the warning will be placed in the personnel file. Information concerning programs will again be provided.

4.    Fourth Offense
If the employee violates the smoking policy a fourth time, the employee will be referred to the Superintendent for disciplinary action.

(cf. - 1331 Community Relations, Smoke Free Environment)

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 

1-21b Smoking prohibited in certain places.
21a-240 Definitions for dependency producing drugs 
Drug-Free Workplace Act. 102 Stat. 4305-4308. 
Drug-Free Schools and Community Act, P.L. 99-570, as amended by P.L. 101-226 (199)
21 U.S.C. 812, Controlled Substances Act, I through V, 202. 
21 C.F.R. 1300.11 through 1300.15 regulation. 
54 Fed. Reg. 4946 (1989) Notice regarding government-wide implementation of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. 

 

Regulation Approved: July 28, 1999

Hamden Public Schools     Hamden, Connecticut