Pubdate: Sat, 23 Apr 2005
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Huntsville Times
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


ARAB - Arab High School students may face some changes in drug testing 
policy and graduation exercises during the 2005-06 school year.

Thursday night the city school board reviewed a proposed policy that would 
extend random drug testing from student athletes to any involved in 
extracurricular activities, including band and academic teams, as well as 
students who drive vehicles to school.

Overall, the policy would affect about 85 percent of the students. The 
Marshall County and Albertville school systems have already extended random 
testing to student drivers.

The review was the first reading of the new policy and final action could 
come at a meeting in May.

Special Education and At-Risk Coordinator Billy Roy said the proposal is 
"therapeutic, not punitive" and most students would not face suspension or 
expulsion if they failed a drug test. They would likely lose certain 
privileges and receive counseling, while those who broke the student code 
of conduct, such as possession of drugs at school, would face stiffer 

Superintendent John Mullins said the system had been giving about 200 tests 
a year to student athletes that result in two or three positive tests a 
year. Refusal to take the test is considered the same as a failed test.

Previously, the system contracted with a firm that charges $40 a test but 
the system will now work with a program offered by the Marshall County 
district attorney's office that will cut the cost in half.

The board adopted the 2005-06 calendar but did not set a date for 
graduation because changes are being considered, such as a morning time.

School will begin for students Aug. 11 and end May 25, with weather makeup 
days set for school holidays in January, February and April.

As for graduation, Mullins said he and Arab High School Principal Patrick 
Crowder have been "disappointed with some of the behavior that has occurred 
at recent graduations," including guests using a cowbell and air horns and 
shouting inappropriate comments.

In other business, the board also accepted the retirement of longtime coach 
Ken Plunkett, effective June 1.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom