Pubdate: Tue, 20 Aug 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


If you participate in an extracurricular activity and you are in grades 
seven through 12, and you are using drugs, alcohol or tobacco, you have 
just over a month to cleanse your system.

The Hartselle Board of Education will begin drug testing students in 
extracurricular activities Oct. 1.

The school board will test every student at least once, then add his or her 
name to the random-testing list. The board did not say what percentage of 
students the school system would randomly test every 30 days.

The school board will appoint a committee to review test results. Members 
of the committee must sign a secrecy agreement.

Meeting to inform parents

After the board hires a company to conduct the testing, the school system 
will hold a public meeting to inform parents and students about the 
drug-testing program.

The movement for a drug-testing policy started in March after two Hartselle 
baseball players collapsed in school. One of the players tested positive 
for marijuana use at Hartselle Medical Center.

The Hartselle school system took advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 
ruling and adopted what is the most inclusive drug-testing program in 
public schools in Morgan, Lawrence or Limestone counties.

In addition to testing athletes, band members and cheerleaders, Hartselle 
will test students in 21 other activities.

Policies in the Lawrence and Limestone county systems and the Decatur City 
system test only students in competitive extracurricular activities.

Chart outlines penalties

A committee the school board appointed to develop the policy provided a 
chart that outlines penalties in each sport or activity for a positive 
test. The board will suspend a student for 30 percent of the games and 
activities for the first and second positive tests.

After any positive tests, the student must complete a school-approved 
counseling program.

The policy permanently bans from extracurricular activities students who 
fail a third test. These students are allowed to continue counseling. The 
school board budgeted $23,000 for the drug-testing program. Of that amount, 
board members said $3,000 would be for counseling.
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