Swampscott to hold health policy presentations

SWAMPSCOTT – Parents of students in activities and clubs are required to attend a meeting that will give an overview of the chemical health policy.Superintendent Lynne Celli explained the chemical health policy is a contract between the school, students and parents, adopted by the School Committee in October 2010.The policy requires students, who participate in extra-curricular activities, and their parents to sign a contract acknowledging the chemical health policy.There will be two presentations on Jan. 10 in the high school auditorium ? 6 p.m. for the parents of freshmen and sophomores; and 7:15 p.m. for the parents of upper classmen.High School Principal Layne Millington said the meeting is mandatory for parents of students participating in any extra-curricular activities because there have been some significant changes to the policy.?The purpose of the meeting is not to preach to parents,” Millington said. “The real purpose is to discus changes and why the changes were made. We don’t want any surprises down the road. This puts everyone on the same page.”Celli said the decision to make the meeting mandatory was not one that was taken lightly but it was the result of a conscious decision to partner with parents.?We want to be proactive and educate parents about the changes in the policy,” she said.Millington said one of the most dramatic changes is the new policy and penalties no longer apply only to student athletes.?It fixes the disparity between athletes and other students,” Millington said. “The new policy covers all students participating in any extra-curricular activities including clubs and even attending dances. There are penalties for student athletes and students participating in other activities as well.”The consequences of violating the policy could result in barring the student from participating in activities and/or attending non-curricular activities such as dances.?We are asking students to sign an agreement that gives them the right to participate in activities and in exchange we are asking them to give something up,” he said. “Students are being asked to refrain from using drugs, alcohol and tobacco products.”Kim Cresta, who has a son on the hockey team, said she would be attending the meeting on Monday evening.?I have no problem with it being a mandatory meeting,” Cresta said. “I am interested in what they have to say and I think educating parents on the policy is a good thing.”Roger Talkov, who has a daughter on the basketball team, said he plans on attending the meeting.?I applaud the school for trying to address these issues,” he said. “I am not very familiar with the policy but I plan on reading it in detail before the meeting. I think it’s good the school is reaching out to parents regarding the new policy.”Millington said he received anonymous messages from four parents who did not believe the meeting should be mandatory.?I can’t respond to them because they did not leave a name or contact information,” he said. “If parents do not want to attend obviously we can’t make them attend but their student will not be allowed to participate in sports, clubs and activities. I did speak with a couple of other parents who had valid reasons why they could not attend the meeting. I will be meeting with them individually after Jan. 10.”Millington, who took the helm at the school in July, said his concern is the health of the students. He pointed that according to the results of a state wide student risk assessment survey conducted last year, students in Swampscott are slightly more likely to engage in risky behavior than their peers state wide.?I was very concerned when as a new principal there were six incidents in six weeks involving students during the summer,” he said. “One was a near fatality.”Celli added the district wants to be proactive when it comes to its chemical policy and protecting the health of its 770 students.?Based on the results of the youth risk survey data,” Celli said, “we recognize we have

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