CATAWISSA RR - Southern Columbia Area Superintendent Paul Caputo confirmed Monday that two secondary students have been expelled for allegedly violating the district's drug and alcohol policy.

School board members voted to take the action at their meeting last week. It related to an incident that occurred within the past month, Caputo said.

He said the students and their parents met with school officials to admit that a violation had occurred, which did not require a formal hearing before the board, Caputo said.

While he could not provide specifics, he said the incidents, which were apparently related, took place under the jurisdiction of the school before the school day started.

According to the school handbook, use or possession of drugs or alcohol can result in a 10-day suspension, referral for prosecution or possible expulsion.

Depending on the situation, Caputo said administration attempts to put an education program in place for a student in violation, which may include drug and alcohol counseling as a prerequisite of his or her return to classes.

"You have to have sanctions to drive home the point the student made a bad choice or decision, but you have to have the supports in place to make sure they have the help they need," he said.

Students need to be aware there are consequences when violating school policy and rules, he noted.

Also, Caputo said students suffering from substance abuse should seek out help. The school has staff members trained to help students and contacts with social community resources outside the school.

"These problems can be insurmountable. For a student to resolve these on their own, it's difficult. Seek out adults for assistance before it turns into a problem or a school violation," he said.

At the April 15 meeting, the vote to expel the students passed 7-1 with Director Richard Steele voting against it. The incidents are being investigating by the Locust Township Police Department.