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Belpre Schools takes action after drugs complaint

BELPRE — Belpre City Schools is taking disciplinary action against two students after a complaint about drugs was made at Monday’s Belpre Board of Education meeting, the superintendent said on Tuesday.

“We started disciplinary proceedings against two of our students this morning for drug-related offenses,” Belpre Superintendent Jeff Greenley said.

A parent spoke to the board Monday, expressing concerns over vaping and drug use among middle and high school students. The parent met behind closed doors with the board following Monday’s meeting.

“These students had been on our radar for a while now,” Greenley said. “Following the meeting, we did feel like we had enough evidence to move forward.”

No details were given on the students or specific offenses due to state and federal youth privacy laws. Officials also did not specify the nature of the disciplinary action and it was unclear Tuesday whether charges would be filed.

Such disciplinary action can be difficult to initiate, Greenley said.

“Students have a constitutional right to a public education,” he said. “If we’re going to take that away in any form, we have to have a very good reason.”

The school system also held random drug testing at Belpre High School Tuesday morning and has requested local law enforcement to increase the number of random sweeps with drug dogs at the school, Greenley said.

All students who participate in sports or extracurricular activities are subject to random drug tests, he said.

“Those are done monthly,” he said.

While the action on two students was prompted by information brought to the board, the other steps were already in motion, Greenley said. The school system, along with school systems throughout Ohio, received a warning and guidance on vaping from the state Department of Health at the beginning of the school year, he said.

Greenley also said he has been working with other school systems to determine best practices in curbing vaping and drug use among students.

“Student safety is the utmost concern, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Greenley said. “We want to have a drug-free and safe environment for our community.”

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