Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2007
Source: Hendersonville Times-News (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Hendersonville Newspaper Corporation
Author: Scott Parrott
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


BREVARD -- Students who park outside Transylvania County's two public
high schools will be randomly drug tested next school year.

The Transylvania County School Board expanded the school system's
random drug testing policy, saying the move would give students
another tool to avoid peer pressure.

"I have students in my office who are having difficulty with illegal
substances and they refer to peer pressure as being a cause for their
choice," said Superintendent Sonna Lyda. "So we're hoping that we're
going to be able to give them a tool so they can say no to drugs
because they are in the pool of random drug testing."

In the past three years, the school system tested students involved in
competitive extracurricular activities ranging from the math team to
the football team.

It's the second time the School Board broadened the scope of the tests
launched in 2004-05. Before this school year, educators added to the
pool middle school students who are involved in competitive
extracurricular activities.

Now high school students who have parking permits will be subject to
random drug testing throughout the school year. Law enforcement won't
be called, but students who do drugs risk losing parking and
extracurricular activity privileges.

Random drug testing is uncommon among mountain school districts. T.C.
Roberson High School in Asheville randomly tests students involved in
extracurricular activities. Haywood County Schools, whose lead
Transylvania followed, also tests students who seek parking permits.

Critics say the tests can discourage students from participating in
extracurricular activities. At least one critic expressed concern
before the Transylvania County School Board, saying the policy treats
students like criminals.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of an Oklahoma school
district that tested students involved in extracurricular activities.
The court rejected an argument made by two students who said the
policy violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars against unreasonable
searches and seizures.

Educators say the random drug tests are an effective

"I think it's working fairly well, because the first couple drug tests
we had we were surprised by the number of kids that did not pass,"
said Bo Williams, chairman of the Transylvania County Schools policy
committee. "Since then, the normal is zero kids."

During the 2004-05 school year, 266 students were tested out of a
possible pool of 2,004 at Rosman and Brevard high schools. Five tested
positive for marijuana. Costs were $6,046, of which about $5,800 came
from Safe and Drug-Free Schools funds.

"It is becoming rare that we do have students with positive test
results," said Teresa McCall, the School Board chairwoman. "I would
like to think (the testing) gives students who are participating in
extracurricular activities and now driving vehicles to school an
avenue to say 'No, I'm not going to do that, because I want to do
these things.'"
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