Pubdate: Wed, 27 Nov 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author:  Bayne Hughes


None Fail Alcohol Or Drug Portions

Decatur City Schools had their first drug test failures during November's 
random tests, but not for drugs or alcohol.

According to Supervisor for Safety and Alternative Education Phil Hastings, 
four students failed the tobacco portion of the random tests given to 
students participating in competitive extracurricular activities.

"All of the students admitted to it (smoking cigarettes or using smokeless 
tobacco), and are taking steps to stop using it," Hastings said.

The penalties for positive nicotine use are not as harsh as the penalties 
for drugs and alcohol. School officials notify the student's parents or 
guardians and the sponsor of the student's activity for a first violation. 
The major consequence is the student must participate in the monthly random 
drug tests for the remainder of the school year.

A second failure would require the student to participate in tobacco 
education classes. A student would not be suspended from participating in 
the activity until the third positive test.

In contrast, a student would be immediately suspended from an activity on 
the first failure for illegal drugs or alcohol until a negative retest. The 
student would also have to attend mandatory substance abuse counseling.

Hastings said 79 high school students, with 40 at Austin and 29 at Decatur, 
took the November tests. This is the second month for the tests and, so 
far, none of the students failed the drug or alcohol portions.

"I'm not surprised that we haven't had any, but I won't be surprised if we 
have any test positive," Hastings said.

"Most of these kids are athletes and we told them in advance of our plans. 
Most of these students usually meet expectations, but at some point we will 
have some fail."

Cross Section

Hastings said he was pleased with cross section of students chosen for the 
tests for the second straight month.

"We got a wide selection of students from all backgrounds, all grades and 
all activities," Hastings said.
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MAP posted-by: Beth