Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Author: Bayne Hughes
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Morgan County Schools will start random drug testing of students participating
in competitive extracurricular activities as early as September.

The policy does not ban tobacco.

After listening to presentations from two bidders Thursday, the school board
awarded a one-year contract for the program to Alabama Specialty Clinic.

The Cullman-based company handled Decatur's, and Hartselle's drug testing
programs last year and has Decatur's contract for this year. The Hartselle
school board is considering changes to its program and has not awarded a
contract for new school year.

ASC's $28 bid was $3 higher than Birmingham-based Business Health Assessment
and Management's bid, but the Cullman company agreed to conduct random tests at
the school system's four high schools at the same time on the same day. Fred
Payne said BHAM would have two teams in the schools on the same day, but it
could not do all of the schools at the same time.

Morgan County Learning Center Principal Bill Hopkins, who is directing the
school system's drug testing program, said it will take about a month to get
the program started after the contract is signed.

"We're going to start this fall, but we're just not sure when," Hopkins said.
"But it will probably be at least September."

Dr. James Thomas, ASC's medical resource office, said he would meet with
parents and students to review testing procedures. He plans to have a community
meeting in the west end of the county and one in the east end. "He will also
meet during the day with the students," Hopkins said.

Three to eight random tests will be held during the year at a cost of between
$9,000 and $24,000. School officials purposely left the number open "to truly
make the tests random," Hopkins said.

Students involved in the following activities will be subject to random tests:
cheerleading, football, baseball, volleyball, track, basketball, soccer,
softball, golf, band, Future Farmers of America, Family, Career and Community
Leaders of America, Distributive Education Clubs of America, math teams,
Scholars Bowl, chorus, thespians, Envirobowl Team, Health Occupation Students
of America, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, Future Business Leaders of
America, dance team, JROTC, 4-H, technology team, science team, Science
Olympiad and robotics.

The policy bans using alcohol, illegal drugs, unauthorized prescription drugs
and prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are abused.
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