By ROBERT CONNELLY
South Range schools have begun drug-testing students, specifically athletes in grades seven through 12 and students with parking permits.
Superintendent Dennis Dunham said that to his knowledge, of the 320 students tested last Friday, no tests came back with positive results. The district is using a urine test for drugs and alcohol, and the program is being paid for by two local doctors.
Those tested were athletes in fall sports, band members in grades nine through 12, and student-drivers with parking permits. Student-athletes are tested before their sport begins, and everyone else is tested before the school year begins.
Dunham said the South Range Board of Education began looking at drug-testing last fall, with five drug-testing companies making presentations at board meetings. Great Lakes Biomedical, based in Perrysburg, south of Toledo, is handling the testing.
“I think everyone recognizes that drug misuse is real serious in all communities. We’re not exempt from it,” Dunham said. “We wanted to be proactive in terms of our students and the misuse of drugs.”
Diane Krumpak, South Range High School cross-country and track-and-field head coach, said, “I think more and more schools are going to continue to incorporate this into their curriculum and sports programs. ... [It’s] another way to help kids make good decisions.”
She said the team didn’t talk about the new drug tests much except to remind the kids it was coming up. “It’s a message we try to send them all the time about not using drugs and alcohol. ... It seemed like none of them were overly concerned, which was a good sign,” Krumpak said.
Head football coach Dan Yeagley said, “We talked about how drugs and stuff like that is not a part of our sport. Our sport is about discipline.”
Dunham provided The Vindicator with a copy of the district’s drug-testing policy that was adopted by the board May 19.
Punishment for positive results is related only to the extracurriculars and parking privileges and “not academically punitive,” Dunham said. Every positive test is followed by an assessment of chemical dependency, which must be done within seven days of a failed test.
For student-athlete violations, it goes from a suspension of 10 percent of their games to 50 percent of games to a 365-day suspension from participating. Student-athletes still must attend practices while they serve their suspensions.
Yeagley said of suspended players still going to practice, “I think it’s very important. When a kid needs help and goes through counseling, they’ve got to understand we’re here to help them, too.”
For students involved in extracurriculars, violations go from a two-week suspension to a full-year suspension to permanent exclusion from all extra-curriculars in the district after a third violation.
For students with a parking permit, it goes from a one-month suspension for parking privileges to being suspended from parking in the high-school parking lot for one calendar year to a ban for the rest of their high-school career.
Every student faces a random test throughout the year, and Dunham said the number of students tested per random draw is based on percentage of student population.
After the initial test, up to all of the students tested are eligible for random testing and reasonable-suspicion testing throughout the year.
A reasonable-suspicion test may be used if a student faces an arrest or conviction for a drug-related offense or there is evidence a student tampered with their test.
Any students who missed last Friday’s test, such as being out of town, were scheduled for a make-up test this Friday.