A drug testing policy was approved at the recent USD 234 Board of Education meeting which is to start the 2019-2020 school year. August 22 is the first full day of classes.
August 1 is enrollment for the district, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The drug testing policy is needed, authorities said.
“It is needed because our survey results and in-house discipline demonstrate that we have a higher rate of drug use than the state average in many areas,” Amber Toth, principal at Fort Scott High School said. “We are creating an environment of non-usage and an out for students who are pressured into using. We are also attempting to get help for students who have a problem. The drug use rate has a direct correlation to student depression, anxiety and suicide. It is a small part of creating a culture of safety.”
Superintendent Ted Hessong sent fortscott.biz the following update to the policy, which was put in the story and the other unapproved policy deleted.
There were a few changes made to the policy before final approval by the BOE, he said.
“The main change was increasing the number of high school students being tested monthly from 10 to twenty,” Hessong noted. “Also, we have not designated a testing agency. We did not want to have one in place until the policy was approved.”
The updated, approved drug testing policy of USD234 is from Hessong:
USD 234 Student Random Drug Testing Policy
Random Drug Testing will be an opt-out process. All students will be eligible for testing unless they opt-out within 10 days of the start of the school year. Transfer students will have 10 days to opt-out after enrollment.
Any student who opts out will not be able to attend any function on school property outside of the regular school hours or belong to any club, sport, activity, or organization. This includes games, dances, plays, or assemblies. They will be allowed on school property during regular school hours only. Students who opt-out will not be able to park a vehicle on school property.
The school shall provide a drug policy education session for students within one week of the policy implementation. The session will include a detailed explanation of the “USD 234 Student Drug Testing Policy.” In addition, it is recommended that each coach/sponsor conduct a player and parent meeting that will include information about the impact of the drug testing policy on participants. Parental attendance is strongly encouraged at each session.
A student or parent/guardian may self-report drug usage when chosen for the random pool. The student may avoid eligibility consequences of the first violation by self reporting as specified below. Self-reporting may only be used prior to a first violation. Once a student has self-reported, he/she will still be tested. A subsequent positive test result will count as a second positive test.
In order to avoid the eligibility consequences when reporting prior to a first violation, students must complete an assessment from a certified addiction counselor at the family’s expense, which may be of their choice, or they may utilize the counseling addiction program assessment provider recommended by USD 234. Students should also enroll in counseling about their drug use, at the parent’s expense. This counseling can be with a provider of the parent’s choosing.
Testing Procedures USD 234 will test 20 random students per month for HS students and 10 random students per month for MS students using a 10 panel urine test.
If a student is selected and refuses to test, it is treated as a positive test, and the policy goes into effect.
If a student tests positive, he/she may be subjected to future tests, at the discretion of the building principal for a period of up to 12 months. They are required to participate in three follow-up drug tests that will be scheduled in 90-100 day increments or upon return to school in the fall if the 90-100 day window expires during the summer break.
If the test is positive, the parent/guardian may request a second test, at their own expense, with an approved drug testing facility. The test must be completed within 24 hours of the original and the original test will stand if the testing window is closed for the particular substance.
1st Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities including all performances and competitions for a period of three weeks (20 school days and must include 3 competition dates). Students in co-curricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment. Students must still attend practice. During this time it is recommended that the parent/guardian obtains a substance abuse evaluation and education/counseling for the student. If the student and/or parent/guardian can provide proof of a drug and alcohol assessment from a school-approved substance abuse counselor and attends consistent appointments with a mental health professional, the suspension will be reduced to ten (10) school days.
2nd Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities, including all performances and competitions, for a period of eighteen school weeks (90 school days). Students in co-curricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment. During this time it is recommended that the parent/guardian obtains a substance abuse evaluation and education/counseling for the student. If the student and/or parent/guardian can provide proof of a drug and alcohol assessment from a school-approved substance abuse counselor and attends consistent appointments with a mental health professional, the suspension will be reduced to ten school weeks (50 school days).
3rd Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities, including all performances and competitions, for thirty-six school weeks (180 school days). Students in cocurricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment.