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Pasco schools to set rules for drug look-alikes

They’ll net the same disciplinary penalties as real drugs on campus.
The Pasco County School Board [Times photo | 2018]
The Pasco County School Board [Times photo | 2018]
Published Oct. 28, 2019

It’s not often that the Pasco County School Board makes changes to its student code of conduct after the school year has begun.

Board members and the administration aren’t keen on setting new expectations after students and parents already were supposed to have read and signed off on the rules for the year.

But this fall, the board is prepared to make an exception. Nodding to new statutory requirements, it plans to adopt a set of penalties for students who bring look-alike drugs onto school campuses.

The discipline will be the same as if the students had brought the real drugs to schools — anything from a parent conference to referral to law enforcement and possible reassignment. (This is for possession, not distribution.)

Student services director Melissa Musselwhite recently told the School Board that the district does not have the capacity to make distinctions between some of the look-alike substances and the genuine article. Nor is the district required to do so, Musselwhite added.

If students bring any of these items to school, she said, they will be treated similarly. The administration also is asking the board to approve set rules with the same set of penalties for students who refuse to comply with requests to search their possessions.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the code of conduct amendments Tuesday evening. No one spoke at a recent public hearing on the subject.