Student drug testing plans continue in Ohio

moving ahead with plans to develop a drug-testing policy, but whether there is enough support to produce a draft plan or implement it will depend on what emerges. Ohio is one of many states who have started implementing student drug testing. Although not popular among the youth, the justification of drug testing is pointed out very simply by Lisbon school board member Jeff Elliott, who said: “As a parent, I would want to know” if my child was on drugs. Elliott said drug-testing is required in almost every job, so in a sense this would prepare them for what awaits students in the adult world. Although testing would be tied to participation in school activities, the idea behind the policy is not to punish but to help those youths who tested positive, he said. “I think we owe it to them. It’s a small cost if it saves a child.” The policy was brought up for discussion at last week’s board meeting, the first held since a public forum on the subject was held on Nov. 21. The forum featured a representative from the Alliance school district who spoke about its testing policy, while school officials also discussed what they have learned from other districts with policies. Superintendent Don Thompson said they conducted an informal survey among 180 adults at the recent Family and Civic Engagement Council meeting and 22 students in a high school sociology class. Describing the results as an “early perspective,” he reported 16 adults (89 percent) and eight students (32 percent) favored testing. It’s certainly no surprise that students don’t want this. However, not everyone is in complete favor. Board member Gene Gallo said he does not necessarily disagree with the students’ position, and what they are saying may actually mirror where the majority of Americans stand on the issue nationwide. He said the focus of any policy should be on educating and helping the students and not punishment. “The challenge is doing it in a way that is helpful,” Gallo said. The emphasis really is to help students who test positive, not condemn them. However, it’s also very difficult to change the attitudes of the children and their families. The school will do all they can, but at the end of the day the students go home – and the school has little way of affecting what happens there.]]>

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