Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Author: Bayne Hughes
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Morgan County Schools conducted their first round of random drug tests Oct. 
22 and all 69 students tested passed, school test coordinator Bill Hopkins 
Jr. said.

Hopkins told the Morgan County Board of Education on Tuesday night that 36 
females and 33 males participating in competitive extracurricular 
activities took the tests at the five high schools.

Morgan County is the third school system in the area to begin drug testing 
in the last two years. Decatur and Hartselle instituted programs last year.

Decatur has tested 580 students since its program began in October 2002. Of 
the 19 that tested positive, 16 were for nicotine use, according to Decatur 
Superintendent Sam Houston.

Unlike Decatur, Morgan County does not test for nicotine and focuses only 
on illegal drugs and alcohol.

Alabama Specialty Clinics is the company that handles the testing program 
for the county. The company tested 5 percent of students participating in 
20 different competitive activities in grades seven through 12. Band had 
the most with 23, football had 12 and volleyball had 11.

"Everything went very well, very professional," Hopkins said of the random 
drug and alcohol tests. "Some were a little nervous, especially the younger 
ones, but we didn't have any problems."

Hopkins said the only deviation is Alabama Specialty didn't do all five 
schools at the same time as planned. The company went to Falkville and 
Priceville high schools first before going to the other schools.

"They finished by 1 p.m. so we thought it went fast enough that it didn't 
matter," Hopkins said. "We'll randomly select different locations to start 
next time."

Morgan County Superintendent Don Murphy said he was pleased with the first 
round of testing. The county will test between four and seven more times 
before the end of the school year.

"They did the same thing at every school," Murphy said. "The main thing is 
it was fair and consistent for everybody. I haven't had one complaint."
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