Struthers considers drug tests for athletes



The Struthers City School District may begin drug testing its student athletes in grades seven through 12 as soon as the 2013-14 academic year.

“We’re in a situation where now is probably the time,” said Mark Carden, athletic director at Struthers, at a special meeting of the board of education Tuesday. “We’ve had some unfortunate happenings with some alumni.”

Drug testing, Carden said, is a proactive approach, and it also could help guide student athletes in the right direction, as well as boost attendance and classroom performance.

Carden said the school district’s drug-testing committee, of which he is a part, began meeting in February to investigate the feasibility and cost of incorporating drug testing into the athletic program.

Carden said, however, the committee struggled to determine how many student athletes to test and how often to test them, as well as how to fund the testing.

The district’s student athletes already are bound to the rules and regulations outlined in the athletic department handbook. Each student athlete, along with his parent or guardian, must sign off on these policies, which include several that prohibit drug use.

The Struthers Board of Education plans to host an informational meeting in June about drug testing of student athletes, then likely pass a policy in June or July.

“It could be a powerful tool for students and the school district,” said Joseph Nohra, superintendent. “We have an established drug issue, as all districts do. [Students] are starting too young with drugs and alcohol.”

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