Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jul 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel


HARTSELLE -- If the school board adopts the policy a committee is 
contemplating, the majority of the secondary students here will be subject 
to random drug testing.

The group, at the request of high school teacher Judy Praytor, agreed that 
it would recommend testing all students in extracurricular activities.

Present and proposed drug-testing policies in other area school systems 
test only students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities.

If Hartselle does not limit its policy to students who compete, the names 
of about 70 percent of the high school students will be in the pool to be 
tested, according to high school Principal Jerry Reeves.

"We surveyed our students about five years ago, and 70 percent of them were 
involved with some kind of activity," Reeves said.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision June 27, expanded its 1995 ruling 
that included student-athletes only.

The court, said, in part: "Students who participate in competitive 
extracurricular activities voluntarily subject themselves to many of the 
same intrusions of their privacy as do athletes."

Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the opinion, said that student privacy 
is limited in a public school environment because school systems are 
responsible for "maintaining discipline, health and safety."

Attorney Dwight Jett is a school board member who served on the committee 
that recommended the drug-testing policy for the Decatur school system. 
"The court's decision is broad, but we decided to limit our testing to 
students who participate in competitive activities," he said.

Decatur's policy, which states specifically who could be tested, has had 
one reading. Jett said it should be in place by the time the 2002-2003 
academic year starts.

Hartselle's committee has also expressed a desire to have its policy in 
place for the upcoming school year. The group will meet July 29 to discuss 
the penalties for a positive test.
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