The Edmond Sun

Education

November 8, 2013

Board works to revise student drug testing policy

EDMOND — The Edmond Board of Education this week made some small adjustments to its relatively new student drug testing policy. The adjustments were made after a parent of a North High School sophomore contended that the district mishandled her daughter’s refusal for random drug testing.

On page three of the Policy No. 4430 handout, the original line under Procedures states, “No student 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.’”

After approval of the first reading, the line now reads, ““No student shall be allowed to participate in any interscholastic competition unless the student has returned the properly signed ‘Student Drug Testing Consent Form.’”

On the fifth page of the document, another line was reworded. The original line under Consequences: Refusal to Submit to Drug Use Test states, “A participating student, who refuses to submit to a drug test authorized under this policy, shall not be eligible to participate in any interscholastic competitions activities covered under this policy including all meetings, practices, performances and competitions for the remainder of the school year. Additionally, such student shall not be considered for any interscholastic activity honors or awards given by the school.”

Once it was approved, the line now reads, “A participating student, who refuses to submit to a drug test authorized under this policy, shall not be eligible to participate in any interscholastic competitions covered under this policy for the remainder of the school year.”

According to Monday’s agenda, “this revision stipulates that a student who refuses to authorize his/her participation in drug testing, while being disallowed participation in OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association) and interscholastic competition activities per se, will be allowed to continue enrollment in the affected class(es).”

Kathleen Duncan, District 2 school board member, said the school board will likely have the second reading of the reworded policy at next month’s meeting and it “could be finalized then.”

As reported by The Edmond Sun last month, Leslie Petri addressed board members during the October school board meeting. Petri said her daughter, a sophomore at Edmond North High School, was removed from debate class after she refused to sign the form and take a drug test in accordance with board policy. Petri said the drug testing policy was a “mandatory-voluntary policy” and said it was against the U.S. and state Constitutions to make students do so. Petri also stated that an Edmond North administrator allegedly told her daughter that only a drug user would refuse to take a drug test.

Before approval of the first reading Monday, Duncan brought up the question about what happens to students who need help, but can’t afford to get the help they need.

“It’s grossly unfair for those who can’t afford it,” Duncan said in a later interview. “We need to make that clear.”

Duncan also brought up another concern with the policy’s punishments.

“The penalty itself is too harsh,” Duncan said. “We are trying to keep kids in school. Maybe the punishment needs to be three weeks, not six. If we can accomplish the same thing with three weeks, then why not just do that. I just think that it’s overkill.”

Duncan said she hopes the school board will look into her suggestions at next month’s meeting.

The drug testing policy was adopted Oct. 1, 2012, in response to an annual operating goal established by the school board last fall. The policy began being implemented in January. Twenty-five students per month are randomly chosen for the testing, according to the district. About 40 percent of the three high schools’ student population are eligible for testing because the policy only tests for those students involved in OSSAA-sanctioned extra curricular activities.

At Monday’s meeting, the school board also approved the consent agenda, which included the renewal of The Compliance Resource Group Inc. as the student drug testing service provider.

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