Parent asks board for ‘opt out’ of drug testing

David Broyles Staff Reporter

October 17, 2013

One parent at the Mount Airy Board of Education meeting Tuesday spoke in favor of allowing parents to opt their kids out of a drug testing policy for students.

Parent Jason Stancil addressed the board and said when he first heard of the proposal he thought it would not be legal and that it would be economically difficult for the district because of the costs of tests.

Those tests, adopted recently by the board, allow for random testing of students engaged in school-sponsored extracurricular activities or for those with a school-issued permit to drive and park on school property. It is not for the student body at large.

“It struck me how students would not be extended the same protections of their teachers and coaches,” said Stancil. “This policy is going to result in the least likely students to need testing to be tested. It doesn’t make sense to test kids typically not at the highest risk of this type of behavior.”

He cautioned the board once the testing began it “would change the attitudes of students towards school” and asked they consider an opt out procedure for families similar to the arrangements where parents can indicate they do not want their children to participate in family life (sexual) education classes.

“I don’t think it’s the mandate of the school nurse with a gloved stranger to get a urine sample on demand from my child,” Stancil said. The board made no comment on Stancil’s request and proceeded to recognitions listed on the agenda.

Reeves Community Center Director Catrina Alexander and here staff were honored by Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little for their efforts in organizing the Liberty University SOARS Dunk Team fundraiser at the center which benefited the district.

“One of the greatest things bout partnerships like we have is understanding each other’s needs,” said Alexander.

Little presented a plaque from the Mount Airy High School Alumni Association naming former board member David Rowe to the group’s citizenship and service award for loyalty and volunteer service to the district. Little characterized him as an ambassador to the community on behalf of city schools. The official announcement for the award was made at the school’s Oct. 11 homecoming game and was accepted by Rowe’s brother, Henry.

“The beauty and joy of my 16 years with city schools was us all pulling together,” said Rowe. “We were including character building in our schools long before it became so popular.” In other recognitions, county nutritional workers were honored for high marks on recent health inspections.

Child Nutrition Director Elke Boyd told the board Jones Intermediate scored 99 points out of 100 possible points. Topping the field was Mount Airy Middle School with a perfect score. Mount Airy High School and B.H. Tharrington scored 99 points in their inspections. Nutrition workers on hand accepting certificates were Tommye Phillips, Carolyn Boggs, Vickie Bowman and Sharon Jones.

Auditors Aprille Bell and Matt Adams of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP gave the board high marks on its recent audit of the district with no major recommendations. According to Bell’s PowerPoint presentation reported a total of $1,852,620 as of June 1013 in the system’s General and Special Revenues balance. Total revenues in this area were reported at $3,671,180 and expenditures of $3,298,660 for a net amount of $372,520.

In comparison to the same amounts in June 20, 2012, the district had a balance of $1,480,100 with expenditures of $3,303,280 for a net amount last year of $235,784. According to the presentation, Mount Airy City Schools expenditures for instruction hovered around 75 percent with a total of instructional expenditures in 2013 of 73.7 percent. Int 2012, the district spent 75.5 percent of available funds for instruction and the amount in 2011 was 75 percent.

In other action, Board Chairman Wendy Carriker read a proclamation from Mount Airy City Mayor Deborah Cochran declaring October National Principal Appreciation Month.

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1952.