Re-implementation of drug policy considered

Discussions have begun to bring back, and expand a previously discontinued student drug testing policy in West Liberty-Salem schools.

WestLibertySalem Schools

Conversation concerning a student drug testing program highlighted a Tuesday work session of the WL-Salem school board.

A proposal discussed during the special meeting included incorporating more of the student population into a drug-testing initiative by testing not just student-athletes, but all participants of extra- and co-curricular activities. Administrators are also considering ways to drug test student drivers.

The school board in 2017 voted to discontinue a drug policy for student-athletes over concerns around the impact on the time students are in class, as well as some athletes being chosen more than once.

There was also concern expressed at the time that the school failed to do enough to assist students who fail a drug test; or that it is not the place of the school district to be testing students in the first place.

School administrators then had recommended maintaining random drug testing for athletes and expanding it to all extraand co-curricular activities, and left open the possibility of reimplementing a drug policy later.

The absence of a formal drug testing policy at WL-Salem should never have been considered a lenient stance on drug use from the district.

“The policies and stance of the board on drug use has remained the same, and the ending of the random drug testing program should be not be viewed as the district being more lenient on drug use in the future,” school officials have said.

“Those students who are identified as using, possessing, and/or distributing drugs or alcohol by local law enforcement, or other means, will be held to the same consequences by the school district.”

The drug tests cost about $20 per student.

The next regular WL-Salem school board meeting is June 18.