Drug testing program outlined to school board
by David Broyles Staff Reporter
Members of the Mount Airy Board of Education were updated on proposed Random Drug Testing Procedures for the district during a regular work session Tuesday.
Assistant Superintendent Bryan Taylor told the board those in the testing program will include students participating in athletics, students who drive to school (and apply for and receive a parking permit), students involved in after-school programs which are not part of curriculum or required for class, after school programs which take place after the regular school day and students who volunteer or choose to participate in the program.
“The testing company will receive a list of students who meet at least one of the criteria for participation. This list will be updated monthly and consist of numbers only,” said Taylor. “There will be no names provided. The testing company will provide 24-hour notice of impeding testing to school level administration.”
Taylor said notification will not include identifying information. The company would arrive at the school and provide the list of numbers of those to be tested to the school principal. The school would next cross-reference the company list with the school list to confirm attendance status.
The draft of procedures indicates school administration would then escort each student to the office where they will be placed in the conference room and a school nurse and company representative will escort each student individually to the nurse’s office.
Each student will be given a testing form and asked to sign. Failure to sign will equate to a refusal to submit a sample and a failed test. The participating student will be given a clear plastic zip-top bag and asked to empty their pockets and place all personal effects in that bag.
The draft procedure indicates the school nurse or testing company representative would make sure the restroom is clear and the student will be given an empty sample cup. They will then go into the restroom to provide the sample. When finished the student would exit the restroom, give the sample to the testing company representative. The student would return to class and the next student would be escorted to the nurse’s office.
Taylor said an effort to compile a list of clubs which would qualify students for participation in the random testing program is under way. He said if the testing company notified school officials of a failed test, this would trigger the Medical Review Officer (MRO), who is separate from the school system, to review the case. Parents or guardians would be asked for documentation of a medical conditon responsible for the result or the MRO’s review may determine the result is a false positive. Either of these cases would not cause the student to progress to the next steps of the policy.
School Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little said the process to draft this procedure and policy began in February and represented an effort to give many students “an out” when faced with peer pressure to participate in dangerous activities. Previously, discussions of the procedures referred to a three step process.
The first positive test would trigger a meeting between family members and school system representatives where the student would be given the option to enroll in and successfully complete a substance abuse program which would result in no loss of eligibility to participate in the club or activity. Should the student chose not to enroll in a substance abuse program they would be ineligible to participate in the club or activity for 365 calendar days from the date of the test.
The second positive result would would mean the student was ineligible to participate in the club or activity for 365 calendar days from the date of the test and a third positive test would mean the student would be ineligible to participate in the club or activities for the remainder of time they are in the Mount Airy Schools.
Taylor told the board the procedures, once receiving final approval, would be explained to students in a school assembly program. He said the dates and time of upcoming parent information nights explaining the policy and process will be announced at at a later date. No action will be taken until the board is presented with the final testing procedures.
In other business, Mount Airy High School Senior and varsity volleyball player Jasmine Varney was commended for staging a “Big Pink” event in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month as her senior project.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-719-1952.
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