Pubdate: Thu, 26 Sep 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author: Bayne Hughes
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Random drug tests of Austin and Decatur high school students involved in 
competitive extracurricular activities will begin sometime after Oct. 7. 
School officials would not give an exact date Wednesday morning during a 
tour of schools, but the first round will be before the end of October.

"We're not going to test on the same day and time every month, and we won't 
necessarily do both schools on the same day," Superintendent Larry Walters 
said. "One month we might test in the morning and then the next month we 
might test in the afternoon. All efforts are being made to make this as 
fair and equal as humanly possible."

Parents and students have until Oct. 4 to return a signed permission form, 
or students cannot participate in the competitive extracurricular activity.

Cullman company to handle testing

Woodland Occupational Health Clinic, the Cullman company that is also 
handling Hartselle's testing, will conduct the random tests. The clinic is 
also supplying Dr. James Thomas as the medical review officer.

Thomas' first duties will be parent meetings tonight at Austin and Tuesday 
at Decatur, with both starting at 7 in the auditoriums. He will meet with 
participating students in school assemblies Oct. 7.

"He will try to answer any questions or concerns they have about the 
program," Supervisor of Safety Phil Hastings said.

Hastings said that each month about 75 students, or 5 percent of 
approximately 1,500 participating, will be tested at a cost of $27.50 a test.

Estimated total cost of the program is between $22,000 and $25,000, with 
the money coming from an at-risk student federal grant.

"We will have an alpha list of the students, so students who participate in 
more than one activity aren't on the list more than once," Walters said.

According to Hastings, the medical review officer will notify each school 
that the company is conducting the test that day.

A school representative will help a company nurse, who will monitor the 
tests, collect the students from class.

A male and female restroom will be used for the test. The urine samples 
will be sealed and sent for testing.

Each sample will be split into two in case a retest is needed or requested.

The medical review officer will notify the student's parents after a 
positive test and request any prescriptions necessary.

If a prescription is not available, or the parents fail to supply one, the 
student is suspended, if the violation is from drugs or alcohol.

A student who fails the tobacco test won't be suspended on the first 
offense, but must attend a tobacco education program with a student 
resource officer.

A student who fails the drug and alcohol tests will attend mandatory 
counseling at the Recovery Center for Teens on Johnson Street. Penalties 
increase with each positive test.

"The counseling program will decide what level of counseling a student 
needs after an interview with the parents and student," Walters said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom