Pubdate: Sun, 05 Sep 2010
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2010 Lee Enterprises
Author: Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat-Herald


BROWNSVILLE - While Scio students sign up for the first time for
random drug testing, the Central Linn School District is continuing
its own student testing policy, now in its 13th year.

A Democrat-Herald story last week incorrectly named Scio as the first
district in Linn County to start randomly testing student athletes and
other extracurricular activity participants for drug use. Central Linn
holds that distinction, having begun its program in 1997.

Central Linn's policy applies to all sports and extracurricular
activities in grades 7-12, including cheerleading, dance team and
student government.

The district paid $2,500 for tests for the 2009-10 school year and had
"three or less tests with a positive result," according to information
from Superintendent Ed Curtis' administrative assistant, Sue Beaudin.

That's similar to earlier information collected by previous
administrators. In mid-2004, Superintendent Max Harrell said only "a
very small percent" of the students tested positive.

Curtis, the current superintendent, said tests take place three times
per year. Students are randomly selected by a computer.

The Central Linn School Board sets aside money for testing in each
year's budget, Curtis said.

"I think over the years, it's been a good deterrent," he

Like Scio's policy, Central Linn's policy requires students to consent
in writing to testing before participating in a sport or activity.

But Scio gives first-time offenders an automatic two-week vacation
from sports or activities, along with a strong recommendation that
they enroll in a drug assistance program.

In contrast, Central Linn gives students with a first positive result
a choice: They may either participate in a drug assistance program,
which may include a weekly drug test, for eight weeks, or they may be
suspended from extracurricular activities for the rest of the school
year or for the next athletic season, whichever is greater.

Parent Mary Canaday of Halsey likes that approach better. "Choosing
.. to enter a treatment program rather than an automatic suspension
is nice because sports is something that helps keep the grades up and
many of our students in school," she wrote in an e-mail to the

In Scio, some students and parents said they didn't like singling out
athletes for testing. Better to include the whole student body, they

The Supreme Court has held that student athletes and club members have
less expectation of privacy than general students, and so drug testing
is allowed only for those specific groups. Canaday is OK with that

"It does hold some students to a higher standard," she wrote, "but
then again those are the students in leadership and set an example in
the school." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D