The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Sean C. Morgan
Of The New Era 

School Board adopts drug test plan


May 10, 2016

The Sweet Home School Board voted 7-1 Monday to adopt a new drug testing policy and administrative rule for students who participate in athletics and competitive activities.

The board held the first reading of the policy Monday night. Supt. Keith Winslow requested that the board adopt the policy Monday night because he will not be at the board’s June meeting, when it would normally hold a second reading.

Chairman Mike Reynolds was unaware of it, he said, but Winslow identified a board policy that allows the board to adopt a proposed policy immediately if in the best interests of the district, immediate adoption of a proposed policy is necessary.

Otherwise, the final vote whether to adopt an ordinance can occur no sooner than the second reading of the policy.

Reynolds explained that the district staff needs to be able to get the policy into the student handbooks for next school year.

This was the policy the board has been discussing for several months, Winslow said. The program will cost an estimated $3,000 for the year, with testing of students in each sport and activity at the beginning of their seasons and random testing during the seasons.

The district will use a six-panel test administered by school personnel, Winslow said.

Sweet Home officials went to Junction City to observe testing, Winslow said. “The invited us to watch them drug test the baseball team. It was a great experience, very low key.”

One student told Winslow he was glad his school tested athletes, Winslow said. He said, “I know we have a clean team. It makes me feel proud.”

Board member Carol Babcock voted against adopting the policy.

She described it as invasive and potentially embarrassing.

“There’s no evidence that this type of thing reduces or eliminates drug use, changes student attitudes toward drugs and alcohol use or has any impact on future behavior,” Babcock said. “Not the best use of human resources, staff time or financial resources.”

Students who are more at risk to abusing drugs will not generally be among those tested, she said. She understands why. Blanket drug testing is illegal.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Chanz Keeney, board member. “I’m all in favor of it. A lot of jobs drug test. You’re teaching kids to be able to go out on their own and make a good decision. They’re in high school. They should be able to handle this.”

Given the support of coaches and athletic directors, said Debra Brown, board member, she thinks it’s a good idea. These are people who do not want to reduce the size of their athlete pool.

Keeney asked why junior high sports wasn’t included in the policy.

Winslow said he was more comfortable trying it out at the high school and then perhaps moving it down next year.

According to the policy, drug testing will provide for student health and safety, undermine the effects of peer pressure and encourage treatment programs at parent expense for student participants with substance abuse problems.

No participant shall be penalized academically for testing positive for illegal or performance-enahancing drugs. Test results will not be documented in student records. Information regarding the results will not be disclosed to criminal or juvenile authorities without a valid and binding subpoena or other legal process, which the district shall not solicit.

In the event of a subpoena or other legal process, the district will provide notice to a student’s parents at least 72 hours prior to releasing the information.

Under the administrative rule, each student wishing to participate in athletics or extracurricular activities and the students parents must consent in writing to drug testing. Without the consent, no student is permitted to participate in athletics.

Selection for random testing during a season of athletics or activities is by lottery from all students in programs at the time of the drawing. The person drawing names will have no way of knowingly choosing or failing to choose particular students for testing.

The selection process must be observed by two adults.

Samples will be collected at a mutually convenient time on the same day the student is selected or, if absent, the day the student returns to school. If a student is unable to produce a sample at any particular time, the student will remain, drink water and wait until able to provide the sample.

All students selected for testing will have the option to provide the samples in private. Students who refuse to provide a sample will be considered to have tested positive.

Students testing positive may request a second test to be administered within 72 hours of positive test notification. The student may voluntarily disclose prescription medications that may affect the outcome of the test.

If the second sample tests negative, the student and parent will be notified and no further action taken. If the second test is positive, the district will schedule a meeting with the student, the parents and the principal or designee.

For a first offense, the student will be suspended from participation in all games and activities for two weeks, with the length of the suspension being at the discretion of the head coach and athletic director beginning with the first contests. The participant must miss at least one contest.

On a second positive result, the student will be suspended from activities for the remainder of the season or eight weeks, whichever is longer. If less than eight weeks remain in the season, the suspension will resume the first week of contests in the next season or year the student participates.

On a third positive result, the student will be suspended for the remainder of the current season and the next two seasons. That can be reduced to two total seasons if the athlete completes eight weeks of counseling outside Sweet Home High School, appeals to the athletic director and submits to a drug test upon reinstatement and additional period testing.

The administrative rule provides an appeal process to the superintendent and then the School Board.

Present at the meeting were Reynolds, Babcock, Keeney, Angela Clegg, Jason Van Eck, Jason Redick, Brown and Nick Augsburger.

In other business, Reynolds announced Monday was Winslow’s final School Board meeting. He will be gone during the June meeting and turning over the superintendent position to Tom Yahraes on July 1.

The board voted to reimburse Yahraes for moving expenses up to $2,500.

The board also accepted resignations from Dianna Plotts, high school Spanish; Pam Duman, high school language arts, Adam Wieland, special education at Sweet Home Junior High; Alicia Fritz, third grade at Hawthorne; Molly Tenbusch, fourth grade at Hawthorne; and Laurie Almeida, high school biology.

The board hired Jennifer Sedlock, director of student services; Rachel Stucky, director of teaching and learning; Junior High Vice Principal Josh Dargis as Oak Heights principal; Jay Marble, junior high health; Mary Bond, high school language arts; Kortlin Mason, high school language arts; and Robert Diehl, junior high special education.


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