Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2003
Source: Abilene Reporter-News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Abilene Reporter-News
Author: Richard McSpadden


Colorado Independent School District trustees on Monday approved 
implementing a drug-testing program for middle and high school students in 
extracurricular activities.

Earlier this year, the district joined a growing number of districts in the 
area considering drug-testing policies. Hawley ISD adopted a policy in 
April and will begin testing this fall. Breckenridge and Eastland school 
districts are considering a similar policy.

Colorado ISD Superintendent Jim White said that as soon as state attorneys 
sign off, the policy will be implemented.

"The thing I like about the policy is that there is no 'strike one and the 
student is out,'" White said. "On the first test, as long as they meet 
their counseling obligations, they will not be removed."

Students will be removed from extracurricular activities if prescribed 
counseling sessions are not completed within 30 days after the 
parent/guardian has been notified of the positive test results. The student 
can be reinstated as soon as mandatory counseling sessions have been completed.

After a second positive test, the student will be suspended from all 
extracurricular activities, and the student will be tested during the next 
six testing dates even if those run into the following school year.

On a third positive test, the student will be suspended from all 
extracurricular activities for 40 school and/or competition days for that 
particular year.

The student will be suspended from all extracurricular activities for one 
calendar year from the date the results of his or her test comes back 
positive a fourth time.

If an appeal is filed but is unsuccessful, the suspension will begin on the 
day a decision is handed down by a medical officer. Breckenridge ISD 
interim Superintendent Connie Martin said the district is researching the 
cost of implementing a drug-testing program. Because of budget constraints, 
the earliest the district would be able to approve a policy would be in the 
spring, after the Legislature meets in an anticipated special session on 
school finance. The earliest testing could begin would be during the 
2004-05 school year.

"At this particular time, it is not a big consideration just because of the 
finances," Martin said, adding that the district contracts to have police 
dogs walk through all the campuses two to three times a month. Martin said 
the district has not had any major problems with drugs.

"We haven't caught anybody or had anything," she said. "It's just for the 
fact if it saved one child."

Hawley ISD Superintendent Kelly Moore said the district approved its policy 
in April and will begin testing this fall. All students in grades seven 
through 12 participating in extracurricular activities are eligible to be 
tested. Testing will occur 10 times throughout the year. Dates and students 
will be selected at random, Moore said.

"We don't feel we have a worse drug problem than they do anywhere else," he 
said. "This is just us giving students another reason to say no. We're 
upping the stakes on it a little bit by saying if you're going to do that 
you're risking your academic career, your athletic career and other 

Testing will cost Hawley ISD about $7,500 for the year, or about $25 per 
test, Moore said.
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