Pubdate: Mon, 24 Jun 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author:  Bayne Hughes, Daily Education Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The public had its say, so now the Decatur Board of Education is waiting on 
final authority to give the go-ahead for student drug tests.

Superintendent Larry Walters said he will not make a recommendation on a 
proposed student drug test when the Decatur Board of Education meets 
Tuesday at the central office. The school board will have a work session at 
3 p.m., followed by its regular meeting at 4.

Walters said he is waiting on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Tecumseh, 
Okla., school board vs. Lindsay Earls and Daniel James before he recommends 
the proposed tests. A school board cannot consider a proposal without a 
superintendent's recommendation.

The nation's high court heard oral arguments in the Oklahoma case March 19, 
but has not issued a ruling. It could be late July before a decision is 
announced. Meanwhile, Walters is studying the proposals of a committee of 
school administrators, faculty and citizens, including cost and a timetable 
for implementation. He is also looking at ways to fund the plan.

The committee's proposal projected the test costs to be approximately 
$20,000. The proposal did not, however, include costs associated with 
hiring a physician as a medical review doctor and administrative costs.

Walters said the school system could implement the program, if approved, 
for the 2002-03 school year. Tests could start in October. But if the 
decision is not announced in July, implementation could be delayed until 
January, or even to the 2003-04 school year.

The Oklahoma case focuses on random drug tests of students involved in 
after-school activities ranging from band to chess club. The suit alleges 
that portions of Tecumseh's policy violate students' rights to be free from 
unreasonable searches.
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