Pubdate: Sat, 11 Jul 2015
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2015 Lee Enterprises
Author: Jennifer Moody


SWEET HOME -- Members of the Sweet Home School Board will spend part
of Monday's board meeting discussing whether to join other mid-valley
districts in random student athlete drug testing.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the district office and is open to
the public. Superintendent Keith Winslow said no decision is expected
immediately; the issue is up for discussion only at this point.

Winslow said he received a request from the board to look into
possible drug tests and is bringing a policy from Junction City as an

Junction City, Cottage Grove and Sutherlin all do some form of random
drug testing for students in athletics and activities. All are in
Central Linn's league.

In Linn County, Scio and Central Linn also do drug testing, and
Lebanon is considering it.

Winslow said it will be up to the board to decide whether to pursue
drug testing, and if so, when and how. Their decisions will affect
cost estimates, but he said he doesn't expect it to be more than a few
thousand dollars.

Winslow said his recommendation would be to spend the current year
working on policies and adding language to the student athlete code of
conduct, then begin testing in the 2016-17 school year.

"It's going to take some time -- it's fairly complex," he said. "And
we also want to give kids and parents a heads-up."

Drug problems have plagued Sweet Home High School in past years, but
Winslow said referrals currently are fairly low. The last time the
school did a sweep with a drug dog, nothing was found, he said.

That may mean students have simply gotten smarter about bringing drugs
on campus, he added, rather than not using at all -- "We're not naive"
- -- but that solves at least part of the problem.

Winslow said he has not yet discussed the testing possibility with
board members and isn't sure what prompted the request, but it might
have been Oregon's legalization of recreational marijuana.

That was the case in Lebanon, where school board members will be
taking up the question next month and possibly also developing a
policy for the 2016-17 school year.

Both districts said they are looking at random testing for athletes
and activities that fall under the Oregon School Activities
Association, which includes dance and cheerleader teams.

The Supreme Court has held that students who participate in athletics
and activities do not have the same expectation of privacy as general
students, so drug testing is allowed. It has not been held to be
allowed for a student body as a whole.

"I thought it would be a good discussion for our community," Winslow
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MAP posted-by: Matt