Youth that misuse substances may be accountable for school and legal consequences.
Some of the consequences impacting Reading, MA include:
- School Chemical Health Violations- These are infractions that occur at the school level and are governed by School Policy. Consequences and educational requirements must be met.
- Summons or Arrest: These involve violations of state or federal law documented by police. In Reading, juveniles that commit a first offense may be eligible for Reading's Pre-Arraignment Diversion Program. An arrest will progress through the regular court process. Either a summons or arrest will be relayed to the appropriate school administrator and school consequences may also be applied (this sharing of information is governed by the Memorandum of Understanding between Reading Police, Reading Public Schools and Middlesex DA's Office.
- Marijuana by-law citations (local and/or state): For youth, these violations include a fine, class and community service. For young adults over 18, the citation requires a fee to be paid. If a Reading student receives a by-law citation, they may be held accountable for a School Chemical Health Violation.
The program contains three elements:
- Group Education 1-hr Class
- Mandatory meeting with staff 1-2 weeks after class
- Family Follow-up with a phone call to parent and mailing a resource packet to the family.
The Reading Coalition Outreach Coordinator and Reading Memorial High School Health Educator co-teach the class, conduct debriefings and family follow-up.
The Group Education class is offered at Reading Memorial High School or the Reading Police Department. The class is conducted on a monthly basis, focusing on substance abuse education, risk behavior, individual responsibility and accountability.
Our class lesson plan uses two major curricula sources
- Alternate Routes: An Alcohol Diversion Program by Laura Burney Nissen published by Hazelden
- Creating Lasting Family Connections by the Council on Prevention and Education published by Resilient Futures Network
Class participants complete and turn in a Pretest, Statement of Accountability, and Post-test. Results of the pre/post-tests reveal interesting findings. At pre-test, participants were more likely to blame others for their infraction and their substance use compared to post-test. Their post-test responses reveal a significant increase in substance abuse knowledge and personal accountability.
Reading Coalition/RMHS schedules the Chemical Health Education class on a monthly basis. To attend the class, you must be referred to the program for a School Violation or Court Diversion.
The course is hosted afterschool in the 2nd floor of the fieldhouse (Mrs. Hopkinson's Room, 513) on a monthly basis.
Local Diversion Program
The Reading Police/Reading Coalition Diversion Program was was born out of need and requests for service in 2012. The Police Prosecutor and School Superintendent asked the Reading Coalition to develop services that could be ordered in a diversion contract to meet the needs of School Chemical Health policy violations and or non-violent court cases with substance use involvement. If the youth successfully completes their diversion contract, the case is dissolved and charges are not filed so a permanent court record is not created.
Diversion Conditions Coordinated by the Reading Coalition Case Manager (ages 13-20) include:
- Reading Coalition Youth Group Education Class for ages 13-18 or referral to Brain Injury Association of MA “Brains at Risk” Program or other educational program (18+)
- Reading Coalition Case Management (Case Manager meets with the youth for the number of hours as indicated on diversion contract; provides fast-track referrals to outside clinical services, and ensures that services take place)
- RCASA Community Service oversight (Case Manager shares list of approved sites, reviews documentation, and provide encouragement for youth to meet required number of hours)
- Coordination with family (Case Manager encourages parents to get support, supports youth to be accountable and responsible for their diversion contract)
- Obey home and school rules (Reading Coalition coordinates with school, School Resource Officer and family as needed)
- Attend recommended number of supportive services meetings or sessions
- 1-3 page essay on assigned topics (Reading Coalition works with youth that have learning challenges to breakdown their assignment so they can start and complete their essay)
- Stay alcohol/drug free and no police interaction (Reading Coalition resources offered to support the youth)
Each Diversion Contract’s duration is individualized and based on the crime and age of youth. The contracts range from three months to one year. The contract is a triplicate form developed by Reading Police with copies provided to the family, the Clerk Magistrate and Police Prosecutor/Reading Coalition. Parents, Youth and Police Prosecutor each sign the contract.
The Diversion Case Manager is currently a staff member with the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support. Samantha Salkin works at the Reading Police Department and is the Outreach Coordinator. She teaches monthly Chemical Health Education Classes for school and court-referred youth and assists the Reading Police Prosecutor with diversion contracts. She has a short list of clinicians that will accept diversion referrals and prioritize their cases. Typically, she reaches out to a youth or young adults after their contract is issued to review their terms, provide information on upcoming classes, schedule appointments for meetings (if ordered), and answers questions that may arise during the course of the contract.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who represents the Reading Police Department?
- Lt. Richard Abate, Criminal Division Commander
- Detective Mike Fitzgerald, Police Prosecutor
- Brian Lewis, School Resource Officer
What do the officers do?
1. How do I meet my requirements if the court told me I have to do community service hours?
- Use the Comm_Service_Hours_Tracking.pdf to get your hours signed off each time you volunteer by the agency supervisor.
- Complete the actual # of hours of service at sites from the Reading Police/Reading Coalition Approved List
Next you need to turn in your documentation by the required date to:Det. Fitzgerald/Erica McNamara, RC
Reading Police Department, 2nd floor
15 Union St. Reading, MA 01867
- The state requirements for marijuana violations of $100 include:
- Complete TEN hours of service and Documentation Form
- Pay your $100 ticket at the Town Clerk's Office in Reading
- Attend the state required marijuana education class
Next you need to turn in your documentation by the required date to:Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support
Reading Police Department, 2nd floor
15 Union St. Reading, MA 01867
MA Bylaw Citation for Marijuana Possession (1 oz. or less)-
- Adult: The fee is $100 per violation and is payable to the Town of Reading, Town Clerk, 16 Lowell St., Reading, MA 01867.
- Youth, under 18 requirements:
- FEE: The fee is $100 per violation and is payable to the Town of Reading, Town Clerk, 16 Lowell St., Reading, MA 01867, 2021_RPD_Quick_Guide_to_the_Process_for_Marijuana_Bylaw_under_18.pdf
- CLASS: Register for the state class. The Institute for Health & Recovery's Youth Drug Awareness Program class is required when a youth under age 18 receives a citation. The youth must register for the class by calling IHR at 617-661-3991 or 866-705-2807 and asking for a "Question 2 project specialist." The offender must provide a current address and telephone number. IHR will then contact the youth when there is space available in a class.
- SERVICE: View the approved list below
Complete 10 hours and document your service using 2021_Comm_Service_Hours_Tracking.pdf
View the full info packet for under 18 MJ violations
- Civil Infraction-$300 Marijuana Ticket for Public Consumption
- Reading Police Officers may issue a ticket or by-law citation for "public consumption of marijuana" in Reading. The fee is $300 per violation and is payable to the Town of Reading, Town Clerk, 16 Lowell St., Reading, MA 01867.
*This ticket is different than the state bylaw violation.