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Former School Board Members: Change Chemical Health Policy

George Thompson, Rod Jane and Craig Harris say the "'knowingly in the presence' clause potentially creates a public health hazard."

Former School Board Members: Change Chemical Health Policy

Three former Westborough School Committee members want the current board to remove the "knowingly in the presence of" clause from the school district's chemical health policy, a clause approved during the trio's tenure.

George Thompson, Rod Jane and Craig Harris told the board in a letter submitted on Tuesday that "we are of the opinion that the anticipated public policy benefit relative to the behavior of Westborough students over the years has not materialized."

"Consequently, the policy unfairly penalizes good behaving students who serve as positive role models relative to those students who wrongly consume alcohol or drugs," the letter states.

"A policy that is neither effective or fair has no utilit and should be changed or eliminated altogether."

Current Chairman Ilyse Levine-Kanji said Wednesday she did not have a comment on the letter because the board is still discussing the policy.

The board plans to discuss the policy again at its next meeting, which is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Forbes Municipal Building, and a vote is tentatively set for May 22, she said.

The board's policy subcommittee has proposed changes meant "to clarify the policy," member Bruce Tretter said during the board's April 24 meeting.

Tretter said the policy "gives out students more latitude and a socially responsible out."

But, parent Michael Donovan said the term "knowingly in the presence of" penalized --by "guilt by association" -- students who attend such functions but do not use drugs or alcohol.

Several parents agreed.

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