Five students cited for having residual amounts of marijuana in their cars after police conducted a search at Waupaca High School will not be allowed to attend commencement, but they will graduate.
On May 3, Waupaca police officers, assisted by a canine, performed a sweep of vehicles at the high school parking lot.
The search uncovered small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicles of six students. Five of those students are seniors, and one is a junior.
“No students were expelled,” District Administrator David Poeschl said. “The six students are finishing the year in the education assistance program.”
Poeschl said the seniors will not be allowed on campus, while the junior will have limited access for the rest of this year and next year.
Poeschl said the school district entered voluntary agreements with the parents of the students involved rather than holding an expulsion hearing.
“The voluntary agreement allows the school district to place conditions on their return, such as community service and drug and alcohol assessment,” Poeschl said. “This benefits the students because it allows them to graduate. They also perform community service and get a drug and alcohol assessment so that they know what they’re dealing with.”
Poeschl said that students who are part of a voluntary agreement are required to continue their studies either through the education assistance program or through a virtual school. Many of them take classes at the high school, but they arrive after classes have started and leave early in order to limit their contact with other students.
Poeschl said the Waupaca School District prefers to use the voluntary agreement rather than expulsion.
“It’s the only way we can place conditions on their return to school. If they are expelled for a period of time, we can’t place conditions,” Poeschl said.
He noted that several students have been allowed to return early.
“Some kids are very successful in turning their lives around and the principals have petitioned for their early return,” Poeschl said.
One of the exceptions to the district’s efforts to avoid expulsion involved the 16-year-old girl who brought a gun to school. She has been expelled, and her case is currently being adjudicated in juvenile court.