Board approves random drug testing for students in extracurricular activities

Board approves random drug testing for students in extracurricular activities

Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 9:03 pm
By: Chris Menees, Staff Reporter

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Random drug testing of high school students involved in extracurricular activities will go into effect July 1 in the Obion County School System.
The Obion County School Board unanimously approved the final reading of an amendment to the board’s policy on student alcohol and drug testing during its monthly session Monday night at South Fulton Elementary School.
The action came after considerable study by the board and a survey of the student bodies at both Obion County Central and South Fulton high schools.
In September 2010, the board approved the first reading of an amendment to board policy that would allow random drug testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities. The board went so far as to declare specific guidelines as outlined in state law and set July 1, 2011, as the effective date of the policy change.
However, at its October 2010 meeting, the board voted to table the second reading of the policy amendment pending further study. The board also suggested conducting a poll among students.
Nearly 62 percent of the students who answered a survey approved of the practice of randomly drug testing students involved in extracurricular activities, according to results presented by Obion County Director of Schools David Huss.
The random testing will encompass students in grades 9-12 who participate in any extracurricular activities — including the privilege of driving to school — starting July 1.
Huss said based on 1,000 students participating, the random testing will be conducted 10 percent at a time, five times a year. An agreement has been reached with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City for a price of $16.50 per test.
School board member David Lamb made the motion to accept the second and final reading of the amendment to allow random drug testing. It was seconded by board member Willis Easley and approved by a 7-0 vote with no further discussion.
In other action during Monday night’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by Easley, the school board:
• Heard the reading of resolutions to honor the accomplishments of the South Fulton High School Beta Club, which recently claimed honors at the state level; and the South Fulton Middle School girls’ basketball team, which compiled a 19-3 overall season record and advanced to sectional tournament action.
• Recognized the Student Congress on Policies in Education delegates from Obion County Central and South Fulton high schools. They are OCCHS students Christopher Douglas and Chelsea Southerland and SFHS students Haley McKinney and Landon Sowell, all of  whom leave Thursday for SCOPE.
• Approved a consent agenda that included monthly personnel, substitute teachers and financial reports; the approval of technology equipment declared surplus; and recognition of a school support organization for OCCHS baseball.
The personnel report listed the hiring of OCCHS teacher Andy Salmon; the resignations of South Fulton Elementary food service employee Nina Poole and South Fulton Middle/High School food service worker Marilyn Baggett; and leaves of absence for Black Oak teacher Lanna Hicks, Lake Road teacher Dana Shelton and Black Oak bus driver Deborah L. Barker.
The substitute teachers who gained approval were Megan Witherspoon and Joe Watts.
As of Feb. 1, items removed from the technology inventory system as surplus and taken to the Obion County Recycling Center included 12 computers, five laptops, nine monitors, eight printers and five other types of differing technology, all in non-working condition or of no value due to usage and age.
On the final consent agenda item, the board learned the OC Rebel Sliders had been duly formed and requested recognition as a school support organization of OCCHS.
• Approved the second and final reading of an amendment to board policy regarding interscholastic athletics. The change recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association was in response to a recent change in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletics Association’s bylaws to allow homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular activities at member schools if certain qualifications are met.
The change was designed to protect a school system from liability in the event of injury to the student or caused by the student. The guidelines set by the local board indicate the homeschooled student must provide proof of insurance and pay a $300 participation fee.
• Approved an amendment to the General Purpose School Fund Budget to reflect a one-time $200 merit bonus the county commission recently approved for all county employees; an increase in the county health insurance match for all support personnel to $327 per month; and the board’s being fiscally able to make an additional $250,000 principal payment to the county on its loan for the Career Technology Centers.
• Approved five overnight student trips, including those for OCCHS’ Future Teachers of America and FFA, SFHS’ FFA, South Fulton Middle/High School’s band and Black Oak’s PLUS class.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.8.11

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