Toolbox Tuesday!! BIPs for drug offenses?

I continue to get a lot of questions BIPs and some of the more serious offenses that students engage in—such as drug offenses. Is the school required to develop a BIP after the student has possessed or used drugs at school?

I think so for two reasons. First of all, schools will usually call for a disciplinary change of placement based on a drug offense. In fact, possession, use, sale or the solicitation of the sale of drugs at school is a “special circumstance” offense that authorizes an immediate removal of up to 45 school days. In our Toolbox terminology a disciplinary change of placement is Tool #6 and the Special Circumstances Removal is Tool #5. Either way, it’s a disciplinary change of placement and our new state law (HB 785) requires a BIP under those circumstances. So there’s the first reason: it’s required by state law.

The second reason is that the commission of a drug offense at school is a behavior that impedes the learning of the student or others. Federal law requires ARD Committees to at least consider positive behavioral interventions whenever a student has behaviors that impede learning.

When a student commits a serious drug offense at school the campus administrators are likely to use several Toolbox Tools. They probably notify law enforcement—Tool #10. They probably call for immediate removal due to Special Circumstances—Tool #5, or a long term disciplinary change of placement—Tool #6. All of that is legal. It’s also punitive and negative. When we develop a BIP we are doing something positive and forward-looking. What can we do to encourage this student not to do this again? That’s why federal law requires consideration of a BIP and state law now requires it.

The next question is always: how do you develop a BIP for this kind of behavior? Good question. It’s one that should be put to someone other than your lawyer. We can tell you what the law requires, but we are no experts on how to address a young person’s use of drugs. There are people you can consult with on that. You should.


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Tomorrow: TEA’s very limited jurisdiction….