Pubdate: Sat, 27 Mar 2004
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Ledger
Author: Skip Richey


I disagree with the policy of random drug testing of student athletes
in Polk County schools. I think it discriminates and singles out the
student athletes. However, I would support a policy of random drug
testing of all students enrolled in Polk County schools.

This public hearing and vote March 16 on the proposed policy came as a
surprise to me. The topic has been vaguely discussed in the past few
years, but the article in The Ledger on March 15 was the first I had
heard that the topic seriously being considered.

Let's see, in the paper on Monday, and a public hearing and vote on
Tuesday. Wow, do we need to be hasty with such an important proposal?

The people of Polk County should have ample time to respond and
contribute input concerning this decision. I feel that such an
important topic and decision needs to be handled with extreme patience
and a concern for fairness, not with expedience.

I have been with the Polk County school system since 1980. During
those 24 years, I have served as a teacher (science, physical
education, health-life management, driver education), dean of students
and a coach (wrestling, baseball football). While serving the school
system in those capacities, I have worked with the entire realm of
students in grades K-12.

In my opinion, it would be more effective to randomly test the entire
population of students than to subject just one segment of the
population. I understand it is partially an economic decision, but it
still should affect all students, not just a portion of the student

I am urging the members of the School Board of Polk County, from the
standpoint of a parent (I have two children in Polk schools), as an
employee and as a member of the community to take their time, and make
an informed and educated decision that will equally and fairly affect
all students.

Skip Richey

Lakeland High School, Lakeland
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