Pubdate: Wed, 29 Aug 2007
Source: Beacon, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2007 The Princeton Packet, Inc.
Author: Mae Rhine, Managing Editor
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The new policy applies only to those students driving to school or
involved in extracurricular activities.

WEST AMWELL -- Besides having a new superintendent, many of the 350
students who walk into South Hunterdon Regional High School on
Tuesday, Sept. 11, will face random drug testing.

The school is opening later than other districts because of delays in
its construction project.

South's new superintendent is Nancy Gartenberg, who replaced Lisa
Brady on July 1.

It was under Ms. Brady's leadership, however, when the controversial
drug new policy was approved by the Board of Education.

The policy affects only those students who drive to work and those
involved in extracurricular activities.

But although some parents vowed to keep their students from
participating in after-school activities, the number who signed up is
about the same, Ms. Gartenberg asserted.

Random drug testing will be done weekly on a handful of students,
about five or six, Ms. Gartenberg said. They will be randomly selected
through a computer program.

Those students will be taken out of class in "a discreet and dignified
manner," she said.

Although she's "not naive enough to think they (other students) won't
know" some of their classmates are being taken for testing, she said
it's "amazing how many kids take medications or need an inhaler" and,
thus, have to leave class at certain times during the day.

The school nurse will do the testing. Anything she considers a
"nonnegative" or positive result will be sent to an outside lab for

"This is not a punitive process," Ms. Gartenberg said.

"As a courtesy," parents will be contacted if the result is positive.
They then will have the opportunity to take the children to the family
doctor or for other medical treatment.

The outside lab test should be back in a few days, and a student can
resume participation in extracurricular activities or driving once
there are "clear results" of "no foreign substance" in their bodies,
she said.

The students also will be required to meet five times with the
school's substance assistance counselor.

Before the random drug policy was approved, students could be tested
if they were "under suspicion," that is, exhibiting "atypical
behavior," she pointed out.

The entire student body will have to deal with major construction
during the year. It will take most of the school year to complete
construction of the library, middle school gym, the new auditorium and
other classrooms.

"We're hoping there will be minimal disruption," Ms. Gartenberg

There will be two new AP, or advanced placement, courses offered this
year in calculus and chemistry. The art curriculum was divided into
four different units, and drama now is being offered as a class.

New faces on the faculty this year include math teacher Rachel Ellis,
special education teachers Leigh Currie and Kim Bogdan, school
psychologist Cheryl Blankman and teacher assistants, Erin Fimble and
Cindy Zidzik.

A new position this year is that of athletic trainer. Amy Somma was
hired for that job.

She will work with the students during all home games as well as other
sports activities at South. She can treat minor injuries, such as
taping an ankle, and will make sure students have water.

South also will have a coed middle school soccer team, the first time
soccer has been offered at any grade level at the school.

"This is very exciting," Ms. Gartenberg said. "We had no soccer at all
so it's a big deal."
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