By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
The Boardman Board of Education adopted revisions to its drug-testing program, now mandatory for high school extracurricular activities.
The drug-testing program at Boardman High School had been voluntary until now. The new policy, adopted at the board’s meeting Monday, will require any student wanting to participate in high school extracurricular activities to be drug tested.
After the initial drug screening, students will be selected for follow-up testing on a random basis throughout the school year.
The committee looking into the idea of a mandatory drug-testing policy was made up of a cross-section of community members, said Kimberly Poma, board vice president.
“It gives the board comfort in knowing that a lot of perspectives were involved in the process,” she said. “And it’s important for our kids’ futures.”
According to the new policy, extracurricular activities are defined as those where participation is a privilege, not a right, and where students do not receive a grade. Included are parking, athletics, school dances and field trips.
Students will be required to give a 90- to 120-strand hair sample from the crown of their head for testing. Students with insufficient head hair will have body hair collected from their arm, leg or underarm.
Five drug classes — including cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine and phencyclidine — will be tested. The test covers a period of approximately 90 days of an individual’s drug use.
The district will pay for the testing at a cost of $25,000 to $30,000 annually.
If a student tests positive in his/her initial screening, the tested student’s parent(s) will be contacted and a conference will be scheduled to discuss appropriate interventions. Any resulting penalties will be administered to the student regarding his/her participation in an extracurricular activity.
The revisions to the drug-testing policy were first discussed at the board’s March meeting and were met with support from those who attended.