Pubdate: Sat, 25 Jan 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Author: Bayne Hughes


The numbers show the Decatur schools random drug-testing program is truly 
random, according to the system's supervisor of safety and alternative 
education, Phil Hastings.

In four months of the program that started in October, 248 males and 246 
females were randomly selected for testing.

Hastings got results from the January tests Wednesday, and for the first 
time a student failed, testing positive for marijuana.

"Our random program is working very well," Hastings said. "We've had a fair 
distribution in all areas. We had three or four randomly selected more than 
one time, but we were told that would probably happen."

Statistics show the tests were evenly distributed among ages, activities 
and races, with about 40 at Austin High School and 30 at Decatur High 
School tested each month. Hastings said 143 freshmen, 126 sophomores, 117 
juniors and 108 seniors took the tests. Testing followed the racial makeup 
of the schools, too, with 374 white and 95 black students participating.

The tests hit all 31 competitive extracurricular activities in the plan at 
least once during the four months. The largest group - band, chorus, 
football and baseball - had the most students tested.

"The tests were well-balanced," Hastings said.

Eight students failed the nicotine portion of the random tests. While the 
consequences of failing are not as tough as for testing positive for drugs 
and alcohol, Hastings thinks testing for tobacco is worthwhile.

"We've had at least two students in November, December and January test 
positive," Hastings said. "Tobacco is not healthy and it's not legal. This 
is obviously an area we have to work on. When we notified them that their 
child tested positive for nicotine, the parents have been very supportive."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens