Article originally published here: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Randolph-County-schools-considering-drug-tests-1339832.php
ELKINS, W.Va. (AP) — Randolph County’s schools superintendent says a proposed drug testing policy for students is needed as a deterrent.
If approved, the policy would require student drivers, athletes and participants in extra-curricular activities in middle school and high school to submit to random drug tests by hair sample. The testing would consist of 2 percent of the total student population that participates in extra-curricular activities and drives, or about 60 students in the entire county.
The Inter-Mountain reports the county Board of Education will consider the final reading of the policy on Monday night.
If a student is found to have used drugs, on the first offense, the parent or guardian will meet with the principal and driving privileges will be revoked until the guardian submits proof the student has been referred to the Randolph County juvenile probation office and that the student is receiving drug counseling.
For any second offense, all privileges will be suspended for 90-days at which the student can take another drug test. Any third offense will result in the student being suspended from driving or participating in the activity for one year.
The proposed testing policy has raised concern as to whether it is needed and if it violates student rights.
Superintendent James Phares says a “drug issue” exists among students, especially outside of school.
“We have recognized as a county board there is a drug issue in Randolph County Schools,” Phares said. “We have both formal and informal data that shows this.”
Data from the annual Pride Survey conducted in all Randolph County school show that 26.8 percent of high school seniors have used marijuana in the last year. Other results for marijuana use included: 1.7 percent, sixth grade; 7.8 percent, seventh grade; 10.9 percent, eight grade;14 percent, ninth grade; 27.4 percent, 10th grade; 23.5 percent, 11th grade.
Phares said West Virginia code only allows the county to test those students who participate in activities that are not “a God-given right.”
“The comments we received questioned why this group of students are being targeted. They are not being targeted, they are the only ones we can extend this to,” he said.
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