Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 2004
Source: Athens Review (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Athens Daily Review
Author: Jennifer Stone
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The Athens ISD board of trustees is a step closer to instituting random 
drug testing for middle and high school students in extracurricular activities.

Trustees and Superintendent Curtis Rhodes began discussing the possibility 
of the testing policy at the April meeting, and the board authorized Rhodes 
to draft a policy that would permit the school district to randomly test 
students in extracurricular activities.

That process is almost complete. Rhodes told the board that a rough draft 
has been sent to the district's attorney as well as the Tyler lab which 
will be doing the testing, for review. Board members have also been given a 
copy of the rough draft, which Rhodes said is based partly on the policies 
of other districts with random drug testing for extracurricular participants.

State courts have ruled it a violation of civil rights to implement random 
drug testing for the entire student population. However, said Rhodes, 
school districts have been allowed to maintain policies effective for 
students in extracurricular activities.

Rhodes said that if students are made aware of the drug testing before they 
enter an activity, it is not a civil rights violation because they have an 
option, of sorts. However, a student has no option but to come to school, 
and so testing all students is a violation. The draft of the policy states 
students who can be tested include those in all extracurricular activities. 
That includes athletics, clubs and civic organizations.

The district will spend the next week making any necessary changes to the 
rough draft, said Rhodes, and board trustees plan to vote on the policy at 
its next meeting on June 1.

Rhodes said that, even if the board approves a policy, it's not written in 

"If we see something's not working the way we wish, we can come back and 
change it at any time," said Rhodes. "But I think it's (a good policy). I 
think it's been well thought out and we've spent a lot of time looking at it."

In other business, Steve McElhany was named president of the board for the 
next year. McElhany is in his first full term on the board and this is his 
first time as president. Also named as officers Thursday night were Will 
Davies, vice president, and Bob Spears, secretary.

The board also approved a salary schedule for teachers, counselors, 
librarians and nursing staff for the 2004-05 school year. Those employees 
must be paid a minimum amount each year, as set by state law. The district 
pays the state minimum, plus an additional amount which varies with each 
year of experience. The current salary schedule was developed in 2002 and 
will stay the same for the next school year.

The board also accepted the resignations of the following employees:

Leslie Foster, language arts at R.C. Fisher;

Lynne Murphey, third grade;

Cheryl Lambright, middle school librarian;

Nancy Smith, middle school math;

Dwayne Davis, high school science, content mastery, athletics;

Linda Enger, high school math;

John Glover, assistant superintendent; and,

Natalie Smith, fourth grade.

The board hired the following:

Laurie Pasholk, diagnostician;

Nancy Moore, high school special education/athletics;

Annie Dickerson, middle school special education;

Fernando Mateo, first grade dual language;

Noelia Merino, kindergarten bilingual;

Jose Ramon, fourth grade dual language;

Beateiz Gonzalez, fourth grade dual language;

Khristiane Vance, second grade;

Suzanne Flashnick, third grade;

Sharon Reed, diagnostician;

Kyle Baldridge, middle school history/athletics;

Jerry Arnold, middle school English/health/physical education/athletics;

Melissa Fuller, middle school English/reading/athletics;

Dana Arnold, middle school history/physical education/athletics; and,

Mary Womack, kindergarten.
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