Pubdate: Tue, 28 Mar 2006
Source: Iosco County News-Herald (MI)
Copyright: 2006 Iosco News
Author: John Morris
Note: Letters to the editor are welcome but must be signed, with an 
address and phone number for verification purposes.
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


HALE - On a 7-0 vote, the Hale Area Schools Board of Education said
"no" to a proposed voluntary random drug and alcohol testing program
for students at the high school.

Superintendent Rhonda Provoast said the district already maintains a
zero-tolerance policy on drug and alcohol use. She adds that student
discipline "As a district, we promote a drug-free environment," she
said. "We don't want to be a third-party (to the proposed testing).
Parents can test their kids."

St. Joseph Health System was awarded a $525,000 three-year grant to
implement the new program for students in grades nine through 12 in
the four county high schools.

While all four superintendents signed a letter of agreement allowing
the health system to apply for the federal grant from the U.S.
Department of Education, it required board approval and possibly
policy changes to implement the program within the school districts.

In February, Tawas Area Schools Board of Education, also in a
unanimous vote, rejected the proposed random drug testing program. The
Oscoda Area School Board of Education agreed to the program.

According to health system officials, who earlier gave presentations
to the districts, once enrolled in the program, a student would be
placed in a pool of students and a computer program would select 30
percent of those students for each random test. Testing is expected to
be done three times a year. Testing would be done with a breath test
for alcohol, a urine test for drugs, or both.

Testing would be done in private at the school. Students would not be
watched. A school liaison also would be needed and health system
officials said a stipend is available to pay for the liaison.

Students who have signed up for the random testing can refuse to take
a test at any time, however, the student's parents would be notified
of the refusal. Parents, who would be notified ahead of time of the
pending test, also can decline the student to take the test.

No statistics will be sent to the federal government or to the schools
and test samples are sent to a certified lab in Chicago. Parents are
notified of a positive or a negative test result.

Should a test comeback positive, the student and parent would be given
the resources of the health system on how to get help. None of the
grant money can be used for counseling or treatment.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin