By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
The possible implementation of a random drug- testing program for students involved in school-district extracurricular activities prompted questions from parents.
“I have no problem with drug testing if it is done fairly and equitably,” Susan Downie told board of education members at a meeting Monday.
However, she added, “I feel strongly that to select any one or more student organizations or clubs without selecting all of them would be considered discriminatory and biased.”
Downie went on to ask who would pay for the program and who would pay for follow-up care for students who test positive for drugs.
“What brought all of this about?” Anna Joerndt asked. “Are there problems that we are not aware of?”
Nothing has been hidden from parents, said Kenneth Beraduce, board president. The topic came up during a board workshop in January, he said.
“We’re all parents just like you are,” he said. “So it became a question of, does it make sense to do it?”
However, he noted, a decision to go ahead with the program has not been made.
Chris Franz, of the Columbus-based Sport Safe Testing Co., gave an overview of how a drug-testing program could work in a school district.
Only students involved in extracurricular activities can be part of a drug-testing program because testing cannot affect students academically, he said. Beyond that, the school board will decide who should be part of the testing, the method by which they will be tested and how the program will be funded.
The goal of a drug- testing program isn’t to catch and punish students using drugs, but rather to discover and fix the problem. In most cases, parents are involved in paying for the follow-up treatment, either through insurance or other means, Franz said.