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Penn-Harris-Madison changes policy following students' overdose deaths

One Michiana school district is offering major relief for students struggling with substance abuse following the deaths of two students this year.

Former Penn High School students Nick and Jack Savage died this summer due to a drug overdose.

Monday, Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation's board of trustees voted to implement a change in the high school's code of conduct that would protect students seeking help.

The district says it's important for the school to establish a relationship with struggling students for their safety.

The board unanimously approved the Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse Conditional Amnesty addendum.

The policy states:

  • Students who seek medical assistance for themselves or someone else by calling law enforcement and/or emergency response personnel shall not be subject to disciplinary sanctions from P-H-M for their consumption and possession of alcohol and/or other substances. Any student who requires medical assistance for the consumption of alcohol and/or other substances will be provided similar amnesty.
  • Students who voluntarily acknowledge their own alcohol and/or other substance use and/or dependency to a member of P-H-M’s administration or staff for the purpose of seeking assistance shall not be subject to disciplinary sanctions from P-H-M for their consumption and possession of alcohol and/or other substances.

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker says students seeking amnesty would be required to pursue counseling through the school.

It's an effort from this district to keep their students safe and prevent future problems for students.

Amnesty would not be granted to students if a staff confronts the student first.

Students who abuse this policy would have their amnesty revoked and would be subjected to consequences from the district.

The policy is effective immediately.

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