drug testing issue hearings upcoming
The Willcox School
District (Arizona) is holding two public meetings
this week to gather ideas, comments and suggestions
regarding a proposed student drug testing policy.
meetings will be Tuesday, May 30, at 6:30 p.m., at
the Community Center, and Wednesday, May 31, at
noon, also at the Community Center.
The meetings will be for the same purpose, but two
different times are planned so that anyone wishing
to attend may choose a time that suits them, said
Sally White, director of Willcox Against Substance
Abuse. Everyone is invited. Following the two town
hall meetings and evidence of need, a policy would
be drafted and presented to the board in June or
July for approval, amendments or rejection.
"Illegal use of drugs is an increasing problem in
our society," said Superintendent Dr. Don Roberts.
"In my opinion, the district needs to send a strong
message. We want to give kids a way not to do (meth/illegal
drugs). If we can keep just one kid from trying (meth),
it's worth doing."
Roberts said that the district can verify a large
amount of drug/alcohol abuse, and therefore can
justify the random drug testing.
"We owe it to our community, parents and students.
This gives kids a chance to say no to peer pressure.
They can just say they don't want to get caught," he
Any seventh- through 12th-grade student
participating in extra-curricular activities,
including sports, fine arts, or others such as FFA
and FBLA, would be subject to random testing.
White said, "From the comments we have heard, it's
running about 7 to 1 for people who are supporting
student drug testing, but the ones who are not for
it are strongly against it."
She added that those against it seem to be against
it for one of two reasons. The first is that the
policy may infringe upon the rights of students or
they feel it is harassing students.
The second reason is that no punishment, such being
arrested is allowed for students who test positive
"We may not suspend, expel or academically punish a
child and we may not give results to police," White
said. "There are lots of consequences we can work
with, but those are against the law."
"We are working very hard on coming up with
someplace to refer students who test positive. The
cost would be deferred to the family, but we need to
work on a seamless transition so the procedure is
not so difficult that they won't do it," she said.
"All over the state we're grappling with that. All
over the nation, there are not enough resources to
help people in this situation, but in Arizona, we're
on the low end of the scale. Especially with kids.
"In order to make this (student drug-testing policy)
worthwhile, we need to be able to give students
testing positive and their families some course of
action to help them, such as counseling," White
Discussion so far has been for a plan to randomly
test students in extra-curricular activities. Those
testing positive could be removed from their
extra-curricular activity for some pre-determined
amount of time, whether it be a specified number of
games/practices/events or until they test negative.
"We're still in the information gathering phase. We
need to determine if it is time to do this in
Willcox or not. And if it is, we want to be able to
get it in place fairly quickly," she said.