18A:40A-18 Employment of student assistance coordinators in certain school districts.
11.The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall develop and administer a program which provides for the employment of student assistance coordinators in certain school districts.
a.Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the Commissioner of Education shall forward to each local school board a request for a proposal for the employment of a student assistance coordinator. A board which wants to participate in the program shall submit a proposal to the commissioner which outlines the district's plan to provide substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment referral services to students through the employment of a student assistance coordinator. Nothing shall preclude a district which employs a student assistance coordinator at the time of the effective date of this act from participating in this program. The commissioner shall select school districts to participate in the program through a competitive grant process. The participating districts shall include urban, suburban, and rural districts from the north, central, and southern geographic regions of the State with at least one school district per county. In addition to all other State aid to which the local district is entitled under the provisions of P.L.2007, c.260 (C.18A:7F-43 et al.) and other pertinent statutes, each board of education participating in the program shall receive from the State, for a three-year period, the amount necessary to pay the salary of its student assistance coordinator.
b.The position of student assistance coordinator shall be separate and distinct from any other employment position in the district, including, but not limited to district guidance counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists. The State Board of Education shall approve the education and experience criteria necessary for employment as a student assistance coordinator. The criteria shall include a requirement for certification by the State Board of Examiners. In addition to the criteria established by the State board, the Department of Education and the Department of Health shall jointly conduct orientation and training programs for student assistance coordinators, and shall also provide for continuing education programs for coordinators.
c.It shall be the responsibility of student assistance coordinators to assist local school districts in the effective implementation of this act. Coordinators shall assist with the in service training of school district staff concerning substance abuse issues and the district program to combat substance abuse; serve as an information resource for substance abuse curriculum development and instruction; assist the district in revising and implementing substance abuse policies and procedures; develop and administer intervention services in the district; provide counseling services to pupils regarding substance abuse problems; and, where necessary and appropriate, cooperate with juvenile justice officials in the rendering of substance abuse treatment services.
d.The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall implement a plan to collect data on the effectiveness of the program in treating problems associated with substance abuse and in reducing the incidence of substance abuse in local school districts. Six months prior to the expiration of the program authorized pursuant to this section, the Commissioner of Education shall submit to the Governor and the Legislature an evaluation of the program and a recommendation on the advisability of its continuation or expansion to all school districts in the State.
L.1987, c.387, s.11; amended 1990, c.52, s.54; 1996, c.138, s.70; 2007, c.260, s.68; 2009, c.54, s.4; 2012, c.17, s.83.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016