BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — UPDATE: The school board voted to change the district’s policy on its punishment for student drug use.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bentonville Schools’ Board of Education is expected to vote on how the district punishes student drug use at its Feb. 21 meeting.

At Bentonville Schools, the number of expulsions for kids using, selling, and sharing drugs has increased from 42 in 2018 to 115 in the last school year. In their previous board meeting, the Director of Student Services, Don Hoover, said the majority of those incidents were caused by high school students with THC vapes.

Currently, students who use, possess, or are under the influence of an illegal drug will be expelled for a semester. During this time, kids are offered a virtual or alternative school option.

However, Hoover said the semester-long expulsion could alter the future of a student since they’ll lose access to extracurriculars, AP classes, and other school programs.

“There are a lot of kids in the storyline that this is their first-time offense, and sometimes it’s their only discipline infraction on their record. It’s a very steep one when we’re talking about taking a kid out of an academic setting for a semester,” said Hoover.

Hoover is asking the board to change this policy by offering kids a Saturday school option that focuses on the impacts of drug use. Once they complete the one-day class, it would reduce their expulsion to 10 days.

He said students would have to attend the class with a parent or legal guardian.

Regardless of how the school board votes, Hoover hopes the district can find a way to keep kids in class and avoid repeating their choice to use or distribute illegal drugs.

Parents can watch the previous Board of Education meeting where the ‘restorative discipline proposal’ is discussed online at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.