Canfield implements drug testing policy for athletes
Band members, student drivers also covered by new rules
By Dan Hiner
The Canfield Board of Education has approved a drug testing policy for the 2019-20 academic year.
Students will have to take a urine test before participating in any athletics, marching band or drive to school.
A subcommittee consisting of school district employees, parents and other members of the community were involved in the creation of the policy.
“The committee directed the district,” Canfield Superintendent Alex Geordan said. “We had different parties involved — parents, safety forces, different things. What resonated in the room was activities that needed physical wellbeing.
“So in essence, student-athletes need a physical makeup to withstand pressures on their body. Student drivers need it to make sure that they have focus on the roads. And again, marching band, in their uniforms that is mentioned — 90-degree weather. The punishment that is put on their body to withstand getting them ready for the season as well.”
The board estimates the cost to be $12.50 per test. The board approved increasing student parking from $10 to $20 to cover the cost on June 19.
After the initial testing, students will be subject to random testing. Students will be assigned numbers in the firm’s system, and the selected number will be called for testing.
Geordan is unaware if the testing will be done monthly or quarterly.
The testing will include alcohol and nicotine. Any nicotine infractions will lead to communication between the testing firm and a student’s parent.
If a student is caught with drug paraphernalia, the student’s parents will have to access a four-hour webinar to provide education.
The policy also includes a non-punitive self referral. If a student self reports, they will not receive disciplinary action. Instead, they will be sent for programing (detox, rehabilitation or education).
If a student involved in athletics or marching band fails a test, they are subject to discipline.
The first failed test will cost them 20 percent of the season, a second violation will result in the loss of a calendar year and a third will lead to loss of participation.
If a driver fails, they will lose parking privileges until they are randomly retested and complete education or rehabilitation. The second offense will cost a student parking privileges for six months and more programing. A third offense will end in a parking ban.
Geordan said the school district has been developing the policy over the last few years. Drug testing was part of the district’s five-year strategic planning initiative, which began in 2017.
The policy was originally proposed on June 28 and first read on July 3.
The drug testing program is directed toward high school students, but parents can pay to have students tested in grades K-12.
Now that the policy is approved, the district will look for a firm to conduct the drug tests. Geordan said the district considered testing the students, but the committee was concerned with knowledge and potential liability.
“We’re gonna be on-site,” Geordan said. “We will have representatives making sure that they help facilitate. They won’t be involved in the collection process. But we’re gonna look for a firm that has experience in this, we’re not gonna take this lightly.”
The school district will hold a town-hall meeting on Aug. 1 to discuss the policy. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Canfield High School auditorium.