SENATE BILL 265
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
George K. Muñoz
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; ENACTING THE DRUG-RELATED INCIDENT RESPONSE ACT WITHIN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE; REQUIRING SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND GOVERNING BODIES OF CHARTER SCHOOLS TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT SCHOOL-BASED DRUG-RELATED INCIDENT RESPONSE PLANS FOR NONVIOLENT DRUG-RELATED INCIDENTS INVOLVING STUDENTS; REQUIRING THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO COMMENCE A STUDY AND TO TAILOR DRUG-RELATED INCIDENT RESPONSE PLAN REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING TO THE NEEDS AND ABILITIES OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND CHARTER SCHOOLS; REQUIRING DATA COLLECTION, REPORTING AND DATA USE RESTRICTIONS; REQUIRING CERTAIN DATA BE DE-IDENTIFIED; PROVIDING FOR CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Drug-Related Incident Response Act"."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Drug-Related Incident Response Act:
A. "de-identified data" means student records that have enough personally identifiable information removed or obscured to minimize the risk of unintended disclosure of the identity of the student;
B. "drug" means a substance that produces a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body and includes a controlled substance that is illegal to possess or use without a doctor's prescription, including narcotics, stimulants and hallucinogens and any illicit drug;
C. "drug-related incident" means any nonviolent incident that involves a student's use or possession of drugs;
D. "exclusionary discipline" means removing a student from school, including suspension or expulsion;
E. "intervention" means a supportive or preventive action intended to avoid exclusionary discipline;
F. "law enforcement unit" means an individual, office, department, division or other component of a school, including a unit of commissioned police officers or noncommissioned security guards, authorized to:
(1) enforce any local, state or federal law, or refer to appropriate authorities a matter for enforcement of those laws against an individual; or
(2) maintain the physical security and safety of the school itself;
G. "nonjudicial" means a process that does not involve the law, judicial proceedings or the administration of justice and does not involve legal action;
H. "response plan" means a school-based plan developed and implemented by a school district and applied to any nonviolent, drug-related incident involving one or more of a school's students;
I. "response team" means the individuals composed of school administration or personnel assigned to carry out the school's response plan for a specific drug-related incident;
J. "school administration or personnel" means administrative staff, including a school principal, teachers, counselors, mental and physical health staff and special educators and support staff;
K. "school district" includes the governing body of a charter school;
L. "school grounds" means public elementary and secondary schools, including charter schools and facilities owned or leased by the school district in or on which public school-related and sanctioned activities are performed and includes buildings, playing fields, parking lots and other facilities located on a school's premises; provided that "school grounds" does not include other commercial properties owned by a school district but not related to the functions of a public school;
M. "school-sanctioned activity" means an event that falls under the school's authority and jurisdiction even if it is located off school grounds and includes sporting events, field trips or graduation activities; and
N. "substance use disorder" means an individual's impairment caused by the recurrent use of alcohol or other drugs."
SECTION 3. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] RESPONSE PLAN--DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE--REQUIRED ELEMENTS.--
A. Every school district shall establish and follow a consistent and multi-element school-based response plan for schools to support students involved in a nonviolent drug-related incident on school grounds or at a school-sanctioned activity.
B. A response plan required pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall include at a minimum, the following elements to be applied by the response team:
(1) an internal fact-finding system to determine the gravity of an incident before responsive action is recommended or taken, to include an initial determination of the following relevant factors:
(a) what drug is involved;
(b) whether there are any immediate health concerns, including overdose risk;
(c) where the student or students obtained the drug; and
(d) whether a student involved in the drug-related incident has a history of past drug-related incidents on school grounds;
(2) an assessment of risk factors, including mental health issues, attendance issues and unfavorable living circumstances such as exposure to trauma, poverty, food or housing insecurity or interpersonal violence;
(3) a determination of options available commensurate with the gravity of the drug-related incident that may include:
(a) a plan for ongoing school counseling, education and mentorship for the student regarding substance use;
(b) non-exclusionary discipline, including interventions, community service, restorative justice, in-school detention and progressive discipline;
(c) assistance with access to services to meet basic resource needs, including food, housing and employment;
(d) professional health counseling and referrals, including closed-loop referrals, drug use treatment and counseling and information regarding appropriate community resources; and
(e) non-judicial action, including in-school suspension or detention or, if warranted and only if no other non-exclusionary option is practicable, exclusionary discipline;
(4) notification to the parents or guardians of the student involved in the drug-related incident in writing, either email or written correspondence, and by phone no later than twenty-four hours after learning of the incident in question and prior to any fact gathering;
(5) meeting with the student and the student's parents or guardians to clarify facts and identify next steps based on the provisions of this section as incorporated in the response plan; and
(6) development and execution of a confidentiality agreement as provided in Section 8 of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act.
C. A response plan established pursuant to this section shall be developed in consultation with appropriate school administration and personnel, including social workers and counselors, and shall include input from students, parents and local community organizations."
SECTION 4. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] TRAINING AND EDUCATION.--
A. Each school district shall provide training as determined appropriate by the department and aligned with the provisions of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act. Training for key school administration and personnel, including response team members, counselors and nurses, shall include a copy of the response plan and any related supplemental attachments or information and shall at a minimum address:
(1) the purpose of the response plan and its specific use in responding to nonviolent drug-related incidents on school grounds;
(2) the responsibilities of school administration and personnel, including the response team members, in the application and use of the response plan;
(3) the impacts of student drug use and the negative consequences of exclusionary discipline; and
(4) the correlation between mental health issues and drug use.
B. In addition to the training prescribed in Subsection A of this section, training for response team members shall include:
(1) in-depth guidelines necessary for applying the elements of the response plan;
(2) in-depth information regarding the composition of the response team and each team member's responsibilities in the event of a drug-related incident; and
(3) any other training or information deemed necessary or appropriate by the department.
C. Training for all classroom teachers shall address how to respond to general social, emotional and behavioral needs in the classroom, including:
(1) risk factors associated with drug use;
(2) the harmful effects of exclusionary discipline;
(3) pertinent information related to the elements of the response plan and how and when the response plan will be applied; and
(4) classroom behavioral management, to include de-escalation methods.
D. Training required pursuant to this section shall be reviewed annually by school districts to ensure it is aligned with department guidance and rules for response plans."
SECTION 5. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEPARTMENT STUDY--RESPONSE PLAN REQUIREMENTS--GUIDELINES.--
A. The department shall commence a study to tailor the requirements of response plans required pursuant to Section 3 of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act and the training required pursuant to Section 4 of that act to the school district's needs and abilities of local schools. School districts shall ensure that the guidelines are incorporated in the response plans. At the time of study commencement, the department may collaborate with the legislative education study committee or contract with an appropriate entity to conduct the study.
B. The department or entity responsible for conducting the study required pursuant to this section shall first conduct a review of any existing department or state agency guidelines, policies or programs that substantially relate to or comply with the Drug-Related Incident Response Act and specifically relate to public school responses to drugs and drug-related incidents. Based on that review, the department shall determine any elements to incorporate in the study to comply with the provisions of existing applicable laws or rules. The study shall identify:
(1) the required elements of a response plan;
(2) general guidelines for education, counseling and mentorship regarding drug use commensurate with the level of a drug-related incident;
(3) training needs for school administration and personnel in the application of response plans; and
(4) evidence-based resources and best practices for use by school districts.
C. The study and subsequent reviews as set forth in this section may include a landscape analysis of potential collaborators, including appropriate state agencies, local juvenile justice departments and drug treatment and resource nonprofit organizations, students, parents and other identified stakeholders. The department shall review the study and issue guidelines every three to five years and update both as deemed appropriate."
SECTION 6. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DATA COLLECTION--DE-IDENTIFIED DATA--STUDENT-LEVEL DATA--OTHER DATA.--
A. The department shall establish guidelines for data collection that distinguish drug-related incidents from other incidents on school grounds or at school-sanctioned activities. Student-level data collection shall include:
(1) the identity of student or students involved in drug-related incidents;
(3) race and ethnicity;
(5) gender identity;
(6) sexual orientation; and
(7) special education status.
B. Data collection required in addition to student-level data collected pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall include:
(1) the identification of the agency overseeing collection;
(2) the number of drug-related incidents reported;
(3) the number of drug-related incidents per student;
(4) the action, if any, taken in response to drug-related incidents, including the application of a response plan;
(5) the number of referrals to police, a state agency or to juvenile probation services offices of the judicial district in which the student resides;
(6) the instances of reporting to the United States department of health and human services' office for civil rights; and
(7) any other information required by department rule."
SECTION 7. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DATA REPORTING--SCHOOL DISTRICTS--DEPARTMENT--USE OF DATA--DATA STORAGE.--
A. The department shall, within one year of the effective date of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act and annually thereafter, incorporate disaggregated data on drug-related incidents at the school level and by demographic variables into the department's established collection and reporting procedures and in accordance with the department's data-reporting requirements.
B. Each school district shall report the data elements provided in Section 6 of the Drug-Related Incident Plan Act to the department quarterly or as determined by the department and shall ensure that the student-level data elements provided are de-identified.
C. Aggregated reports shall be public records within the meaning of the Inspection of Public Records Act and shall be open to inspection, with the exception of any portion of a report that is privileged or protected under state or federal law or pursuant to the privacy guidelines provided in Section 8 of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act.
D. Student-level data governed by this section shall be accessible for research purposes but shall be allowed for use only at the discretion of the department and subject to a proposal review process established by the department. Student-level data shall be stored at a public repository approved by the department."
SECTION 8. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] PRIVACY--CONFIDENTIALITY.--
A. All information and statements gathered by response teams while applying a response plan to a drug-related incident are:
(1) private and confidential;
(2) not subject to the Inspection of Public Records Act; and
(3) not discoverable in civil or criminal litigation, absent both a valid subpoena or other compulsory process and an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
B. As soon as practicable after the occurrence of a drug-related incident, the response team shall provide to the student and where necessary, the student's parent or guardian, a department-approved confidentiality agreement for review and execution containing:
(1) notice of the protections afforded by federal and state confidentiality laws;
(2) notice of the circumstances under which federal and state confidentiality protections do not apply;
(3) consent for the limited release or exchange of confidential information to certain school administration or personnel or others; and
(4) notice of the right to revoke the consent at any time.
C. A school's law enforcement unit shall not create a law enforcement unit record with respect to any drug-related incident in which a response plan is applied pursuant to the Drug-Related Incident Response Act unless the record is required by law.
D. Nothing in the Drug-Related Incident Response Act shall serve to limit any applicable privacy and confidentiality protections provided by a relevant state or federal law, rule or regulation related to privacy, confidentiality or disclosure of educational records or an individual's substance use disorder treatment records."
SECTION 9. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] GRANT PROGRAM--FUNDING.--
A. To support the implementation of the response plans required pursuant to the Drug-Related Incident Response Act, the department, in collaboration with the legislative education study committee or other appropriate entity, including a grant-writing entity, may establish a grant program for the purpose of funding in whole or in part:
(1) supplemental training deemed necessary by a school district;
(2) the hiring of additional personnel or other resources deemed necessary by a school district; or
(3) the sharing of information on existing grant opportunities at the federal or state level that might support school districts in meeting the requirements of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act.
B. The department may pursue all federal funding, matching funds and foundation or other charitable funding for the initial start-up and ongoing activities required under the Drug-Related Incident Response Act. The department may receive such gifts, grants and endowments from public or private sources as may be made from time to time for the use and benefit of carrying out the provisions of that act. A grant may address:
(1) delivering mandated prevention services, including training on risk-factor assessment and protective measures;
(2) decision making regarding student needs and intervention services based on Subsection A of Section 3 of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act; and
(3) working with community partners to coordinate services for students presenting more intensive needs."
SECTION 10. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEPARTMENT RULES.--No later than December 1, 2024, the department shall promulgate rules for carrying out its duties pursuant to the provisions of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act."
SECTION 11. APPROPRIATION.--One million dollars ($1,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the public education department for expenditure in fiscal year 2025 to carry out the provisions of the Drug-Related Incident Response Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2025 shall revert to the general fund.
SECTION 12. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2024.
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