Pubdate: Wed, 06 Aug 2014
Source: Tuscaloosa News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2014 The Tuscaloosa News
Author: Jamon Smith
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


Students Who Drive to School, Participate in Activities Affected

Starting this school year, students in the Tuscaloosa City School 
System who drive to school or participate in school-based 
extracurricular activities such as sports or chess club will be 
subject to random drug and alcohol tests.

The system's new drug and alcohol screening policy was approved by 
the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education Tuesday.

The purpose of the preventative policy is to help create and maintain 
a drug-free environment as well as act as a deterrent to students who 
may be considering drug or alcohol use.

"As we look at supporting our students, we see this as one of the 
areas that we really want to help them have a deterrent for making 
bad choices," said Mike Daria, assistant superintendent of general 

Only students who drive and participate in extracurricular activities 
will be subject to the random drug and alcohol testing policy.

Parents of students who don't drive and who aren't involved in 
extracurricular activities can choose to have their child randomly 
tested if they sign a consent form.

Students subject to the policy will be tested randomly or if there's 
reasonable cause to test them.

According to the policy, the first time a student tests positive, his 
or her parents will be notified and the student will have to complete 
25 hours of community service approved by the principal within 60 
days of the failed drug test. The student will also be retested in 30 
days and will have to pay for the cost of the retest. If the student 
doesn't take the retest, he or she will automatically be considered 
to have failed the retest and will be disciplined accordingly.

If a student tests positive a second time, he or she will be 
suspended from the activity they participate in and have to give up 
his or her driving privileges for 14 days. The student will also be 
referred to Bradford Health Services for drug/alcohol evaluation and 
treatment and have to complete 40 hours of community service that's 
approved by the principal.

In order for the student to have his or her driving and 
extracurricular privileges reinstated, he or she must pass the retest 
that will be given within 30 days.

If a student fails the drug and alcohol test a third time, he or she 
will be suspended from driving and all extracurricular activities for 
100 days, have to complete 60 hours of approved community service and 
will be referred to Bradford Health Services for drug/alcohol treatment.

"Once you fail a test, you get tested every time everyone else is," 
said Dave Ryan, school board attorney. "So if you get popped as a 
ninth-grader, you're going to undergo a lot of drug tests over the 
next three years."

The penalties for failing the drug and alcohol tests are the same, no 
matter what kind of drug or alcohol the student test positive for.

Ryan said the policy's penalties for students who test positive 
aren't punitive, but are therapeutic so that students can get the 
help they need to quit without the discipline they receive affecting 
their academics.

If students are found to be in violation of the random drug testing 
policy, they will not be subject to the system's normal drug and 
alcohol disciplinary measures. They also will not be turned in to the police.

All test results will remain confidential unless the student 
authorizes the release of the information to a specific individual.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom