School Board opts for random drug testing of athletes

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home School Board voted 6-3 to revise its student athlete drug testing policy, setting a minimum number of students to be randomly tested through the year.

Under the policy, the district will pay an outside drug-testing firm to randomly test 20 percent of athletes twice during each season, early in the season and at a later time during each season.

The cost will be $5,408

Voting to approve the policy revision after a second reading of the proposed policy were Jim Gourley, Ben Emmert, Chanz Keeney, Jason Van Eck, Chairman Mike Reynolds and Angela Clegg. Voting not to approve the policy were Jason Redick, Carol Babcock and Debra Brown.

Redick said he thought the board was digging too deeply into day-to-day operations by setting a minimum number for testing.

Van Eck and Keeney both favored testing more students but recognized the financial constraints of doing so.

Supt. Tom Yahraes said he appreciated a minimum number in the policy to guide district officials while recognizing that it limits flexibility if the price of drug testing were to change, for example.

Board members favored testing multiple times during each season in order to encourage athletes to continue to avoid using drugs.

In other business, the board:

n Adopted policy revisions regarding family leave, medical leave, superintendent evaluations, a local wellness program, reimbursable meal and milk programs and whistleblowers.

n Approved the hiring of Kelsey Harris, PE, Sweet Home Junior High; Thadeus Holub, Student Services director; Richard Smithson, biology, Sweet home High School; and Madelyn Smith, physical science, SHHS.

n Accepted the resignations of Daniel Bixler, science, SHHS; Christina Lamb, special education, SHHS; and Andy Price, vice principal, SHJH. Price is taking a position in the Springfield School District.