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Drug Testing News
Halifax considers drug tests
Students in extra-curricular activities, driver education to be
Monday, March 31, 2003
Halifax School Board members have given preliminary approval
to a policy that would mandate student drivers and seventh- to
12th-graders involved in competitive extra-curricular
activities to submit to random drug testing.
A public hearing regarding the proposed policy is scheduled
for 6 p.m. April 7 in the high school library. The school
board plans a final vote on the proposal April 14.
Halifax officials decided last year to reconsider instituting
drug testing after a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed
schools to require drug tests of students who participate in
any competitive after-school activities, whether it be
football, marching band or Future Farmers of America.
Previously, schools were allowed only to test student athletes
The proposal states that testing will be done randomly without
prior notice to students.
The district would test up to 20 students at monthly intervals
during the school year, regardless of whether a pupil's sport
or activity is in session. Halifax's school board gave
preliminary approval to the proposal March 17.
An earlier proposal requiring random drug tests of athletes in
grades seven through 12 was voted down in 1999 by all but one
Halifax board member for varying reasons, including some board
members' concerns that it was unfair to single out athletes.
The newest proposal was passed unanimously by board members,
three of whom were on the board in 1999. Members William Sayre
and Diane Vaughn were absent for the vote.
A task force of district personnel, parents and other
community members helped draft the proposal.
Superintendent James Dull said the officials decided to draft
a drug-test policy after reviewing results of a survey
administered in 2001 to Halifax students in grades seven
"The survey indicated that there's a higher level of long-term
drug use, not just experimental use. There is a problem," Dull
The district is targeting activities students instead of the
entire student body because a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision
covers pupils involved in competitive activities, not students
"Students who are involved in competitive activities are more
susceptible to being put in dangerous situations. Drugs can
impair their performance and then it becomes a safety issue,"
Also, school activities and driving are a privilege, not a
right for the district's students, Dull said.
Alcohol testing would be performed only under reasonable
suspicion that a student has or is under the influence of
alcohol, the proposal states. Nicotine products are also
included in a list of drugs prohibited by the school district.
For a first offense, students would be suspended indefinitely
from the extracurricular activity. Also, a student would be
required to undergo drug and alcohol counseling.
If there is a second offense, a student would be barred from
participating in extra-curricular activities and lose his or
her driving privileges for one calendar year.