Pubdate: Wed, 14 Dec 2011
Source: Herald Democrat (Sherman,TX)
Copyright: 2011 Herald Democrat
Author: Jonathan Cannon, Herald Democrat


Beginning next spring, all of Denison Independent School District's
athletes will be tested for drug use, but district officials stressed
that the purpose of the policy is not punitive.

"We want to give (students) a reason to say no to the peer pressure
that they face on a daily basis," Assistant Superintendent George
Hatfield said to the board on Tuesday. The board voted unanimously -
with Vice President Bruce Hysmith and member Doug Holzbog absent - to
approve the policy.

The policy will require all 7th through 12th grade athletes and
cheerleaders and their parents to consent to testing before the
students can participate in the activities. Initially everyone in the
programs will be tested. Then 7th grade, 9th grade, and all new
athletes must take an initial drug test. Additionally, every six
weeks, a random group of students, between 5 and 20 percent, will be
tested. Once a student tests positive, that student will be tested
every six weeks for a year.

Additionally, the coaches have some control over who is a part of that
sample. The policy states if a coach has reasonable belief that a
student might be using drugs the coach can include that student in the
next round of testing.

The first positive test means that student must complete the STAR drug
treatment program. The second positive test means the student must
complete the next phase of the program and will be ineligible to
participate in athletics for 14 days. On the third positive test, the
student must complete the third phase and will be ineligible for 60
days. Finally, on the four positive test, a student will be banded
from participating.

Hatfield, pointed to the consequences, as well as the fact that the
district is waiting until next spring to institute the policy, as
evidence of it's intent to help students avoid peer pressure rather
than punish them.

"I want every tool at my disposal that I can use to keep them away
from that stuff," said Athletic Director Cody White. "It's an
opportunity for them to say no. It's an opportunity for them to stay
away from peer pressure."

Testing is expected to cost the district $13,000 for the first year
and then slightly less in later years since fewer students will be
tested. The athletic booster club has agreed to pay $3,000 toward the
total cost.

If parents what their children who are not in athletics tested, they
can pay $15, the cost of the test. Hatfield said the district will
conduct meetings with parents about the program to answer questions
and address concerns.

The board also approved the guaranteed maximum price of $9,542,304 for
construction at Hyde Park, Lamar and Mayes elementary schools. The
price comes in $700 under budget, but represents only the maximum and
could be less if continued negotiations are successful. The bids
represent a local participation of about 44 percent.

Finally, following a closed, executive session, the board voted to
authorize its attorney and administrative staff to pursue negotiations
regarding a wrongful dismissal claim brought against the district.

Superintendent Henry Scott said he couldn't discuss the details since
negotiations were on-going, but said any settlement would be paid by
the district's liability insurance company and would need additional
approval from the board before it can be finalized.

In other business, the board approved:

- - accepting $14,372 in grants from the Denison Education

- - accepting a clean 2010-2011 district audit;

- - the 2012-2013 budget calendar;

- - the taxation of goods in transit; and

- - Davis-Bacon wage rates for Hyde Park, Lamar and Mayes elementary
additions and renovations. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D