Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jun 2004
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2004 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel, Daily Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


HARTSELLE - Fewer Hartselle students are choosing to use tobacco,
alcohol and drugs, according to the school system's drug testing

In his yearly report to the Hartselle Board of Education, Franklin
Penn said the system's drug-testing program is the main reason
students are "making different decisions" at parties.

"The most positive thing is from parents and students who say it's
easy not to participate (in drug use) at parties," Penn said.

He said students are saying "no thanks" to drugs because they worry
that the school system may test them Monday.

"We designed this policy to be a deterrent and apparently it's
working," board Chairman Ronnie Abercrombie said. "I think this is the
best money we have spent since I have been on the board. The idea is
to keep students from using drugs, not to punish them."

Penn said Hartselle tested 786 students during the 2003-2004 academic
year. Fourteen students tested positive, 12 for tobacco, one for
marijuana and one for amphetamine.

The figures were down from the 2002-003 school year when 17 students
tested positive, including six for marijuana and 11 for nicotine.

Hartselle did random tests for OxyContin last year, but got no
positive results.

"That's good news," Abercrombie said. "If we're not getting positive
results, that means students are getting the message that drugs in the
Hartselle system will not be tolerated."

Hartselle has one of the most inclusive drug-testing policies in the
state. Any student who participates in an extracurricular activity is
subject to drug testing. About 70 percent of Hartselle's students
participate in some kind of activity.

Superintendent Lee Hartsell suggested almost seven months ago that the
board expand drug testing to include students who park vehicles on

"There is very little that I would change about our policy because it
is a good one," he said. "But I know systems that have included
students that drive to school."

The committee that drafted Hartselle's policy in May 2002 wanted to
include students with parking permits, but it was unclear at that time
whether the system could legally test the students.

In a 5-4 decision in June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way
for school systems to test students who drive vehicles to school.

Barkley Bridge Elementary Principal Susan Hayes was chairwoman of the
committee that drafted the drug policy.

She has agreed to look at expanding the policy, including starting a
volunteer program where parents can pay to have their children tested.

"Several other school systems have volunteer programs and we think
this would be something good for Hartselle," Abercrombie said. 
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