Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed in a law a bill that changes the suspension provisions for students participating in extracurricular activities who have been convicted of a drug related offense.
Senate Bill 113 would impose a thirty calendar day suspension and would make the student ineligible for two games/activities upon completion of the suspension for a first offense. Offending students must complete an assessment with a certified chemical dependency counselor as part of the suspension guidelines.
A second offense would result in a sixty calendar day suspension and would make the student ineligible for six games/activities upon completion of the suspension. Offending students must complete an intensive prevention or treatment program as part of the suspension guidelines.
A third offense would result in permanent ineligibility in extracurricular activities for the offending student. Current law mandates students be permanently ineligible following a second offense.
Students must complete the entire activity season in order for the punishment to remain valid and suspensions would carry over from each activity season if the season concluded during the time of suspension.
The bill does allow school districts to increase the penalties, if they so choose.
ASBSD supported the bill.
“We (ASBSD) look at it as being an incentive (to get) treatment,” ASBSD Director of Policy and Legal Services Gerry Kaufman testified in support of the bill during a committee hearing.
“It’s appropriate to give students an additional chance.”
Legislators who supported the bill shared Kaufman’s sentiment in providing students another chance for a mistake, but making sure a message is sent to students that their poor choice will not go unpunished.
“This is about sending a message to young people who play in sports and activities, that if you choose to (use or possess) drugs you won’t be able to participate (in an activity) for a while,” Sen. Tim Rave, the bill’s sponsor, testified during a committee hearing.