By Kyle Lovern
September 10, 2013
Mingo County Schools will be implementing a new drug testing policy this year.
The policy governs only performance –enhancing and illegal drug use by students participating in certain interscholastic extra-curricular activities. It will also include those who wish to drive and park on school property and those whose parent or guardian elects to include the student in the random student drug testing selection process.
Dreama Dempsey, Mingo Schools Director of Student Services and Attendance, said that the drug testing policy would not be punitive.
“We want to deter drug use and give students needed information, as well as educate them on the dangers of substance abuse,” Dempsey said. “Under the law, we cannot let the procedure affect the students academically. We will not be punishing students.”
Students will not be disciplined unless they have illegal substances on school grounds or are under the influence on school grounds.
The purpose of this new policy is to educate students on the serious physical, mental and emotional harm caused by illegal drug use.
The restrictions imposed for violations of this policy, include, but are not limited to, limiting opportunity of any student determined to be in violation of this policy to a student’s privilege to participate in interscholastic extra-curricular activities or driving to school.
During the initial implementation stage of this policy, students participating in interscholastic activities in the months of July and August must submit a fully completed Student Drug Testing Consent Form to the school in September to remain eligible to participate as an activity student. The Opt-In Participant and parent (or custodial guardian) shall also consent to read and sign the form. This consent requires the activity student, driving student, and Opt-In Participant to provide a urine sample.
1. When the student is selected by the random selection basis to provide the urine sample.
2. At any time when there is reasonable suspicion to test for illegal or performance-enhancing drugs.
No students shall be allowed to practice or participate in any extra-curricular activities involving interscholastic competition unless the student has returned the properly signed “Student Drug Testing Consent Form.”
There will be a mandatory orientation session held prior to the commencement of drug testing. This will be held early in the first semester and again prior to the second semester.
Each student will receive a copy of the Student Drug Testing Policy. The head coach or sponsor shall be responsible for explaining the policy to all prospective students.
Drug use testing for Participating Students shall be done monthly on a random selection basis from a list of all students who are involved in off-season or in-season activities. Mingo County Schools will determine a monthly number of student names to be drawn at random to provide a urine sample for drug use testing.
In addition, if there is reasonable suspicion, the drug tests required may be taken at any time and a student will need to submit a sample when an administrator, coach or sponsor has suspicion of illegal drug use.
The drug test will be administered by a company chosen by the Mingo County Schools.
The drug testing service shall be required to use scientifically validated toxicological testing methods and have detailed written specifications to assure chain of custody of the specimens. They will also be required to use proper laboratory control and scientific testing.
All aspects of the drug use testing, including the taking of specimens, will be conducted so as to safeguard the personal and privacy rights of the student to the maximum degree possible.
The test specimen shall be obtained in a manner designed to minimize intrusiveness of the procedure.
Any eligible student selected randomly for urine drug testing who is not in school on the day of testing will be tested at the next available testing time.
If at any time during the testing procedure the monitor has reason to believe or suspect that a student is tampering with the specimen, the monitor may stop the procedure and inform the principal/athletic director (AD) who will then determine if a new sample should be obtained.
Confidentially is important in this process. The drug testing service shall notify the Superintendent or designee of any positive test. In order to keep positive test results confidential, the Superintendent or designee shall provide written notification to the student, the principal, the head coach/sponsor and the parent or guardian.
In the case of a student that drives, the student, the principal and the parent will be notified.
Dempsey stressed that students are not referred to the legal system and that the test results remain confidential.
From that point, the principal or designee shall schedule a conference with the student and parent/guardian and explain the student’s opportunity to submit additional information. Mingo County Schools will rely on the opinion of the drug testing service which performed the test in determining whether the positive test result was produced by something other than consumption or an illegal or PED.
Test results will be kept in files separate from the students’ other educational records. The results shall only be disclosed to those school personnel who have a need to know and shall not be turned over to any law enforcement authorities unless there is a valid court subpoena, search warrant, or signed consent from the parent, guardian or student.
The test results are destroyed when a student leaves school or graduates. Results are not forwarded to other locations.
Any activity student who tests positive shall see these consequences.
1. First offense – The parent/guardian will be contacted immediately and a private conference will be scheduled to present the test results. A meeting will be set up with the student, parent/guardian, AD, and principal concerning the positive test. In order to continue participation, the student will be required to show written proof that he/she has received substance abuse education/counseling from a qualified program. Additionally, the student must voluntarily submit to a second drug test to be administered within four weeks in accordance with the testing provisions of this policy. The parent may be responsible for the cost of this drug test.
2. Second offense – Suspension from participation in all activities covered under the policy for 14 calendar days. The parent/guardian must show proof of successful completion of eight hours of substance abuse education/counseling from a qualified program or counseling entity. The student may not participate in any meetings, practices, scrimmages or competitions during this period. Then the student must voluntarily submit to a second drug test to be administered within four weeks. The student shall be tested randomly at least three times throughout the calendar year for the remainder of the school year.
3. Third offense – Complete suspension from participation in all extra-curricular activities, including all meetings, practices, performances and competitions for one calendar year. A negative drug test will be required before the student can participate.
Similar policies are set up for those who drive to school.
If a student refuses to submit to a drug test authorized under this policy, he/she shall not be eligible to participate in any activities covered under this policy on all school property. Additionally, such student shall not be considered for any interscholastic activity honors or awards given by the school or county.
The Superintendent of Schools shall appoint an advisory council to review the local data and make recommendations to the Board of Education regarding policy effectiveness.
Mingo County Schools and all of its employees are committed to cooperating with parents/guardians in an effort to help students avoid illegal drug use. The school district believes accountability is a powerful tool to help some students avoid using drugs and that early detection and intervention can save lives.