Making Changes to Ensure Safety at Pottsville Area

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- The first day of school is right around the corner and with that, new policies are being put into place at Pottsville Area School District.

"We believe this is another step to further protect our students and do what we can to keep them out of harm's way," said Pottsville Area Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel.

The district tells Newswatch 16 that all students in grades 7 through 12, who participate in extracurricular activities or drive to school will now be subject to drug tests. The first violation of this new policy will lead to a 45-day suspension from that student's team or club, but not from school.

"If a student does test positive for having a substance in their body, the whole goal is to get them help," the superintendent explained.

"I think it's a great idea," said parent Ronda Imschweiler. "I'm glad they're doing it. I have no problems with it. My son is on a lot of the sports teams and I think it's fantastic."

"I think that's really good because it helps keep it clean and safe and it's more fun without drugs and you don't need that kind of stuff," said sophomore Emma Smith.

The district is also training all of its employees on how to use a new, interactive mobile app that will help increase safety inside the schools.

"If we have a staff member who's walking outside of the building at the high school and they spot an individual with a weapon, they can go into the app and tap the siren button, which will alert all staff members that there's an emergency situation," said Zwiebel.

"I think it's good because we need to keep our students and our faculty protected," sophomore Greta Snukis said.

To view the district policies, click here.

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