Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jul 2005
Source: Paradise Post (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Paradise Post
Author: Jeremy Walsh
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


A proposed drug-testing policy for Paradise High School may be
approved for the upcoming school year at tonight's meeting of the
Paradise Unified School District board of trustees.

The policy met with resistance from local residents and board members
at a May 31 public hearing. Many complained it unfairly singled out
student athletes for the testing when drugs are a school-wide problem.
The board reminded attendees that the policy was a "pilot program,"
and if it succeeded, they would consider expanding it. Board member
Mike Greer expressed interest in testing teachers and coaches, while
board member Robert DiPietro wanted to test in grades below high school

Since the public hearing, the policy has gone from covering just
athletics to all extracurricular activities at the school. Many of the
board's ongoing issues have been with changing language specific to
athletics programs.

At the June 23 school board meeting, PUSD Superintendent Steve
Jennings recommended consulting the district's legal counsel about the
revisions. Athletics have precedents, he said, "but when we're
starting to talk about Chess Club and Key Club, that's new ground."

He also noted that the definition of extracurricular activities in the
document left gray areas, and further classification was necessary.

More than 100 students are in sports each season at PHS, compared to
between 10 and 40 each for other clubs. Band, chorus and student
leadership are currently not included in the policy because they are
courses taken for academic credit.

After extended discussion and further observations of unclear language
regarding testing regularity for drug offenders, the board agreed to
get their comments to Jennings and try to have an approval vote on the
agenda for the next regular board meeting.

Jennings said a decision on the policy was necessary by the July
school board meeting for there to be enough time to implement it for
the fall semester. The board could potentially vote to approve the
policy or hold back for further revisions. The school board's open
session is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the PUSD offices at 6696
Clark Road. 
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