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School drug testing policy will be drafted
For students in extracurricular activities
Sunday, January 6, 2013
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Henry County School administrators will draft a policy on drug testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities which will be considered by the school board.
The Henry County School Board approved a motion Thursday by board member Francis Zehr directing Henry County Superintendent Jared Cotton and his staff to develop such a policy for the school board to consider.
“This would not be implemented until the 2013-14 school year,” Zehr stated in a memo. Zehr represents the Ridgeway District on the school board.
Zehr’s memo stated that he has met with Cotton several times on the topic of drug testing for students participating in extracurricular activities, and Zehr has talked with most school board members on this subject.
“Thank goodness we do not have a serious drug problem in the Henry County School System and by being proactive we can keep it that way,” the memo stated.
“I think we can all agree that students participating in extracurricular activities is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, I believe drug testing should be a requirement for students to participate. If a student tests positive for an illegal drug, they naturally would be suspended from that activity. This policy would not be meant to punish students, but to help them solve their problem. Half the solution to any problem is to know what the problem is,” Zehr’s memo stated.
It stated the policy would help fulfill two of the school division’s strategic plans: Operate safe and orderly schools and family and community engagement.
“Family and community support would assist the student testing positive to help find help for their drug problem. Once the problem is solved and they do not test positive again, I would hope we could allow them to begin participating in that activity once more,” Zehr stated in the memo.
Cotton said students undergo drug testing in the school division’s alternative program, but Zehr’s idea would expand testing greatly.
Melany Stowe, the school division’s coordinator for parent and community outreach, said the school division’s current drug testing is done on a case-by-case basis in certain disciplinary cases as part of the student being readmitted to school.
Cotton said he will have to research such things as the legality and the costs of drug tests for students who participate in extracurricular activities.