Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author:  Bayne Hughes
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Decatur City Schools' drug test committee will reconvene Monday to 
re-examine its proposed policy following the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Austin High School Principal and committee chairman Ed Nichols said the 
main issue the 21-member committee will discuss is possibly expanding the 
coverage of the proposed program.

The committee originally proposed random drug tests for students 
participating in "competitive" extracurricular activities likes athletics, 
band, and scholar's bowl and math team. In its ruling in Earls vs. 
Tecumseh, Okla., school district, the Supreme Court said school systems 
could test students involved in all after-school activities.

"The proposal would test students in activities that fall under the state's 
'no-pass, no-play' rule," Nichols said.

"Most of the groups would already be test-ed under our proposal, so we 
would only have to add a few groups," he said.

Nichols said the committee also would study comments from the two public 
hearings held in June.

One topic will be the inclusion of testing for smoking tobacco. If tobacco 
is included, the committee must decide if the penalties will be as harsh as 
they would be for harder drugs.

Proposed Penalties

Penalties under the current proposal include notification of parents or 
guardian, suspension from activities and mandatory substance abuse 
counseling. Suspensions increase in length with each positive test.

"There was some concern about whether it would be feasible to test for 
tobacco," Nichols said.

According to Superintendent Larry Walters, the committee will then make a 
recommendation on changing the drug test proposal Tuesday at a Decatur City 
Board of Education work session. The meeting starts at 4 p.m.

Walters is planning to present costs for the tests at the meeting.

Nichols estimated it would cost about $20,000 for the tests, but this 
amount does not include hiring a drug-testing company to oversee the tests 
and hiring a medical review doctor to review the tests.
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MAP posted-by: Beth