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News (Media Awareness Project) - US MO: Westran Holds Drug-Testing Forum
Title:US MO: Westran Holds Drug-Testing Forum
Published On:2012-01-31
Source:Monitor-Index (Moberly MO)
Fetched On:2012-02-02 06:02:49

Moberly, Mo. - The Westran school district held a public forum Monday
night at the high school to discuss implementing a student
drug-testing program for students entering grades 7-12 who
participate in activities outside of regular coursework.

The program included a presentation from Westran football coach
Curtis Jasper, as well as information from John Throckmorton, of
Employee Screening Services. A little over 40 people attended the
forum, and they were able to ask questions and make comments.

Jasper shared the proposed policy, and added that nothing is set in
stone yet. The school district first looked at the issue with a
Student Drug Testing Committee. He said the reasoning for considering
student drug testing was pretty basic.

"As a school we would like to have a safe environment for our
students to learn in," Jasper said.

He also said the drug testing could be "a great tool" for students to
use against peer pressure.

Questions from those in attendance focused mostly on the testing
procedures, such as who does the collection, how long of a time
period students have to provide samples and whether testing company
employees go in with the students when they provide the urine samples.

Throckmorton said that the third party vendor would conduct the
testing at the school. Once notified that they have been randomly
selected, students will be asked to provide a sample immediately. If
they cannot do so right away, they would be allowed to intake fluids
while being monitored for a few hours until they are able to provide a sample.

Throckmorton also said that due to the students being minors, it is
his company's policy to not go in with the students while they
produce the urine samples for testing.

Under the proposed policy provided at the forum, in addition to other
consequences, the first offense of a confirmed positive test would be
a 30-day suspension from activities and on-campus parking. The second
confirmed positive test would be a 90-day suspension from activities
and on-campus parking, and a third offense would mean a ban from all
interscholastic activities and a one-year suspension from on-campus parking.

The drug testing would be for a variety of substances, including
alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, oxycodone, cocaine, marijuana and
K-2, among others. The urine samples could also be tested for
performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids.

Last July, Moberly approved drug testing for students who participate
in Missouri State High School Activities Association-sanctioned
activities. The Cairo school district also has student drug testing.
Jasper said Westran has studied several other schools' drug-testing programs.

Westran athletic director Matt Burton said that the district has
conducted both student and adult surveys on the drug testing subject
earlier in the school year, and that the information received shows
there may be enough concern to begin the testing. Jasper said that
when asked whether the school district had a drug problem, the
percentages saying "yes" were: school staff 55 percent, parents 46
percent, high school students 32 percent and middle school students
11 percent. Jasper said he felt that if anyone feels the district has
a drug problem, the school should look into it.

Burton also said the testing could begin as early as the 2012-13
school year. Jasper said the first step would be a meeting in August
to present the final version of the drug-testing policy.
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