CASSTOWN — More than 30 Miami East Local Schools parents, school officials, teachers and coaches attended an information meeting on Monday regarding the district’s decision to explore a pilot year of on-site random drug-testing.
Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold facilitated the meeting to answer questions surrounding the district’s policies and procedures if the board decides to implement the pilot program as soon as the fall.
A copy of the 10-page draft of the proposed random drug testing policy was available to all who attended. A complete copy of the proposal is available online at www.troydailynews.com.
Great Lakes Biomedical President Kyle Prueter attended the meeting and helped answer some of the myths surrounding school drug testing procedures. Prueter said the number one drug junior high and high school students test positive for is marijuana, followed by amphetamines such as ADD medication, then followed by other prescription drugs.
Great Lakes Biomedical, located in Perrysburg, would conduct random urine drug screenings on the school grounds. The company has contracts with approximately 100 school districts in Ohio and Michigan to date.
According to Prueter, the district would select one person in the district who would be notified of the day and time of the random screening. All drug screens will be held in the district’s clinic areas for privacy.
No advance notice of the testing would be given. A refusal to do the test would be an automatic positive.
According to Rappold, if the pilot program is approved, students in seventh through 12th grades who participate in district sports and marching band would be eligible in 2016-17.
In the pilot program, there will be three types of testing. The first, the random screen would include all students seventh through 12th who participate in sports or marching band. Parents must sign a consent agreement prior to the season or school year for their child to participate in the activity. A refusal to sign the form will deem the student ineligible to participate.
Great Lakes Biomedical would then use a computer-generated random number draw to select students to be tested on-site. Students may be tested more than once per season or school year. If a student participates in a fall sport and is tested in the spring and fails the test, the district would implement its discipline plan the next time the student participates in the sport or activity.
The second type of testing is the “Parental Opt-In” testing. If a parent would like their student tested the next time a random drug screen is held at the school, the parent can place their child on the screening list for a fee.
The third type of test is the “Self-Referral,” when a student voluntarily comes forward before a drug screen is held. This option can be used only once during the student’s six years of extra-curricular activity eligibility.
Prueter explained the testing process and how the lab technicians screen students. A “rapid” screen is done on all samples. If samples are detected with presumptive results, the lab sends the sample for further testing.
Prueter said if a student has a prescription drug that is detected during the drug screen, contact will be made to obtain the prescription number for validation. The drug screen is also subject to HIPPA law and will only be shared with the designated personnel at the school.
Prueter gave as an example, if a student was tested during a time he/she was on pain medication for a recent medical incident, the student’s test will read as a positive, but with the valid prescription, they are still in compliance. If a student’s sample had pain medication in their sample without a prescription, they would be in violation of the school’s drug policy.
If a positive test is detected, the designated person will notify the parents and student. On the first violation, the athlete or band member will not participate for a minimum of 40 percent of the season. The student also has the option to sign up for intervention classes to reduce the 40 percent to 10 percent of the season after classes are complete.
A second violation of the policy would make the student ineligible for one year. A third violation, the student would be denied all participation in athletics at the school. Violations are accumulative throughout the student’s school career.
Rappold said the discussion wasn’t due to one specific event rather than the widespread reported local drug epidemic.
In February 2015, Covington Exempted Village Schools board of education passed a policy to randomly drug test students in grades 7-12 who participate in extracurricular activities and use school parking passes. The policy states the district must have parental consent to drug test the student, which is legal in Ohio. The Troy Daily News has made a public information request for information about Covington Exempted Village’s first year of drug testing. The request has been submitted to the district’s superintendent.
For more information, visit www.miamieast.k12.oh.us.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews