BOE looks at drug testing

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A proposed policy would require student athletes at Chilton County High School to undergo drug testing.

CCHS Principal Greg DeJarnett presented the policy to the Board of Education on Tuesday. If approved, the policy would initially affect only CCHS, but DeJarnett wants the board to consider making it countywide.

“In this day, time and culture we are living in, we would hope that nobody would put illegal drugs in their body, but they are,” DeJarnett told the board.

The policy’s intentions are to protect the students and the school system and to make parents aware of any drug situation that may exist. Without this knowledge, DeJarnett explained, a student who is taking drugs might collapse during practice. This would not only endanger the student but could also put coaches in a false light.

“The last thing we want [students] to do is fall out,” he said, pointing out that in early August, students will be practicing in 95-degree weather and hotter.

“This policy is not very harsh, but it is something we would like to implement at our school.”

The proposed policy includes penalties, which are mainly varying degrees of suspension, depending on the number of offenses. Depending upon the type of substance used, a student in violation of the policy may also be required to pass an additional drug test and undergo counseling before they participate in an extracurricular activity.

The primary times of testing would be just after summer break and Christmas break, though the policy also provides for random, unannounced drug testing.

The policy is modeled after one used at Spain Park High School, CCHS athletic director Brian Carter’s previous place of employment.

DeJarnett said he had talked to other principals in the county and found them to be “very in agreement.”

The board members seemed to respond positively.

“I would like to commend you for addressing it,” board member Chris Davis said.

DeJarnett said the policy’s goal is that no student will test positive for drugs.

“We want to use it as a deterrent,” he said.

Superintendent Keith Moore said the board would consider the policy in a work session and explore the legalities of the issue.