Brownstown school board OKs random drug tests

BROWNSTOWN

Random drug testing for athletes, students involved in extracurricular activities and those who drive to school at Brownstown Central middle and high schools could begin as early as Aug. 1.

The implementation of the program, which also is in place at more than 100 school corporations across the state, is designed to keep students on the right path now and for the future, a school official said.

“It is a positive move for our community and our students, and we’re always searching for positive aspects that can enhance their lives,” school board President Mary Ann Spray said.

Spray’s comments came Tuesday night after the board voted 6-0 to approve the random drug testing program that was outlined during a special board meeting a week earlier. About 25 people attended the earlier meeting.

The board started discussing the issue in December.

Trustee Scott Shade said he appreciated the work of school officials that allowed the board to take quick action in the right way.

The administration and school board will work out a plan of how often to do the testing. Twenty students will be tested during each random drug testing event.

The cost of the program is $6,000, which will be paid for at least in part by the school corporation with general fund monies. The tests are $31 per student and $620 per grouping.

Superintendent Greg Walker said he applied for a $3,000 grant Tuesday from the Jackson County Drug-Free Council to help defray the cost of the program.

“It will be a cost-share situation with them,” he said. “They will let us know in May if we will be receiving that grant.”

The district joins 115 others in the state, including Seymour, that presently subject athletes, students participating in extracurricular activities and any who drive to school to random drug testing.

The activities include athletics, clubs, choir, band, cheerleading, student council, academic teams, etc.

“We can’t make it a stipulation that you can’t enroll in this school unless you sign to be in the random drug testing pool,” Walker said. “However, extracurricular activities and driving to school are privileges.”

For legal reasons, the schools can’t have every student tested, Walker said recently.

There are 570 students in the high school and 380 at the middle school.

Also, a parent or guardian who has a child not involved in extracurricular activities or driving to school can choose to have their child placed in the random pool.

Midwest Toxicology Services, the company conducting the testing, only works with numbers, not names of students, and there will be one school official designated to run the program.

Testing will be done for amphetamines/methamphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine metabolite, opiates (heroin), phencyclidine (PCP), cannabinoids (marijuana), ethanol (alcohol) and cotinine (nicotine). Other drugs could be added if school officials see a need to do so.

Walker said school officials have added a penalty portion to the policy so that students found to be in violation of the policy know what actions they face.

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.