Reinstatement of Drug Testing in School Recommended

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By Dave Freneaux

The Student Services committee of the Central Community School Board met Monday night to deliberate and make recommendations to the full Board concerning drug testing in Central public schools.  The Committee has asked the Board to reinstate drug testing, but, at least temporarily, to cease using hair sampling as the testing method and rely solely on urinalysis.  The committee will recommend to the Board that the school system's policy on drug testing be considered and revised to allow for testing via hair sampling and to designate an appropriate school system postion to serve as the liason between the drug testing company, school system, parents and students.  The Committee also asks the board to have legal counsel request an opinion from the Attorney General as to whether all students involved in voluntary extra-curricular activities can legally be tested using hair sampling.
The reason for the request from the Attorney General is that the Central Community School System is on the "leading edge" of the effort to address the drug problem existing in all schools.  Very few public school systems in Louisiana, and even across the country, appear to have as comprehensive and aggressive an effort to identify and provide intervention for students who are using illegal drugs.  The Committee is asking that the school system proceed with a solid legal basis for the program.
The issue of using hair sampling became a problem when it was identified at last week's School Board meeting that some of the paperwork used to authorize the testing was flawed and that the use of hair sampling as a testing method was never approved by the School Board.  There seems to be little, if any, disagreement that drug testing is needed in the schools and that it will have a positive influence in the life of the Central community.  The challenge being addressed by the School System is simply to have a well defined policy and to administer it consistently.

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