By Kyle Lovern
Mingo County Schools will include middle school students in the drug testing program beginning in the 2014-2015 school term.
The policy governs only performance –enhancing and illegal drug use by students participating in certain interscholastic extra-curricular activities. It will also include those who wish to drive and park on school property and those whose parent or guardian elects to include the student in the random student drug testing selection process.
The drug testing program was first implemented for high school students during the 2013-14 school year. Drema Dempsey, Director of Student Services and Attendance reported that no high school students tested positive for illegal drug use during the last school year.
Dempsey said that the drug testing policy for grades 6-12 would not be punitive. “We want to deter drug use and give students needed information, as well as educate them on the dangers of substance abuse,” Dempsey said. “Under the law, we cannot let the procedure affect the students academically. No suspensions from school or academic sanctions will be imposed for violations of this policy.”
Students will not be disciplined unless they have illegal substances on school grounds or are under the influence on school grounds.
The purpose of this new policy is to educate middle and high school students on the serious physical, mental and emotional harm caused by illegal drug use. The restrictions imposed for violations of this policy will be solely upon limiting the opportunity of any student determined to be in violation of this policy to a student’s privilege to participate in interscholastic extra-curricular activities or driving to school.
Each activity student, driving student or opt-in participant must submit a fully completed “Student Drug Testing Consent Form” to the coach/sponsor or administrator before such student will be eligible to practice or participate in any extra-curricular activities or before issuance of a driving/parking pass.
This consent requires the activity student, driving student, and opt-in participant to provide a urine sample.
1. When the student is selected by the random selection basis to provide the urine sample.
2. At any time when there is reasonable suspicion to test for illegal or performance-enhancing drugs.
No students shall be allowed to practice or participate in any extra-curricular activities involving interscholastic competition unless the student has returned the properly signed “Student Drug Testing Consent Form.”
Each student will receive a copy of the Student Drug Testing Policy. The head coach or sponsor shall be responsible for explaining the policy to all prospective students.
Drug use testing for Participating Students shall be done monthly on a random selection basis from a list of all students who are involved in off-season or in-season activities. Mingo County Schools will determine a monthly number of student names to be drawn at random to provide a urine sample for drug use testing.
In addition, if there is reasonable suspicion, the drug tests required may be taken at any time and a student will need to submit a sample when an administrator, coach or sponsor has suspicion of illegal drug use.
The drug test will be administered by a company chosen by the Mingo County Schools.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)