Pubdate: Tue, 16 Dec 2008
Source: Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)
Copyright: 2008 Daily Reflector
Author: Brock Letchworth
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


Administrators at D.H. Conley High School want to extend the school's
drug-testing policy through the remainder of the school year. School
Principal Michael Lutz told the Pitt County Board of Education on
Monday night that the pilot program which randomly tests athletes
during their sport's season has been successful and run smoothly since
its inception. The school became the first in the district to have a
testing policy when it initiated the program in February.

"We think it has been a valuable deterrent for our students and helps
give them one more method to say no and fight off the peer pressure
that is out there," Lutz said.

Since the program began, 64 students have been tested and each of them
have tested negative, according to Lutz.

"As coach (Rob) Maloney says, we are undefeated in drug testing," Lutz
told the board. Testing is scheduled to end in February; the board is
to decide next month whether to extend the policy until June.

Lutz said 10 percent of athletes from every sport except cheerleading
have been tested randomly in the past year. Cheerleaders were excluded
by an internal error.

The names of those tested are chosen by computer. Oral swab tests are
performed by Professional Testing Services of Winterville. Tests cost
$18 per student screened, and funding comes from the athletic
department budgets.

The random-testing format allows for students to be tested more than
once if they play multiple sports. Lutz said one student at Conley
already has been tested three times.

"That is always a possibility with random testing," he said. While
saying he was satisfied with the way the pilot program has worked,
Lutz said school officials are hoping to make a few improvements to
the policy, including testing a larger percentage of athletes if the
budget allows it. Coaches at Conley also have expressed interest in
testing everyone in their sport at least once per season, and some
have volunteered to provide the funding out of their individual sport
budgets, Lutz said. He also noted that the school would like to have
all athletes held accountable throughout the school year, but the
staff has not figured out a fair and equitable way to do so.

Pitt County Board of Education Chairman Mary Grace Bright said Monday
the district's policy committee will soon consider whether to
implement the tests at other schools.

"That is something we will be looking at after the new year," Bright
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