By Mike Scott
Clark County R-1 students will not undergo random drug testing, after the issue failed on a 3-4 vote at last Thursday’s meeting of the CCR-1 Board of Education meeting.
The topic had been introduced early in the year, following concerns expressed to at least one school board member by an area resident.
In the area, Highland, Monroe City and Scotland County schools have some form of drug testing program for students involved in extracurricular activities.
“Most of what we would be trying to do is prevention,” said board member Dr. Matt Cormier. “We could get the most bang for the buck with just a few random screenings.”
“We cannot test every student because they have a right to a free education,” said CCR-1 Superintendent Ritchie Kracht. Testing could only be done for students seeking privileges, such as extracurricular activities or parking permits.
“Our biggest drug problem isn’t going to be caught by a test unless the student drinks before coming to school,” board president Steve Otte commented.
“I would have no interest in testing at this time. If a student came to school obviously under the influence, we would have avenues where we could intervene,” board member Bill Schutte added.
“With a lot of programs, we’re into social engineering. This is a parental responsibility, and we will never be their parents,” Otte said. “We need to concentrate on what we need to do to educate the kids and not pull resources away.
The board also approve a revised wellness policy, although not without controversy.
The CCR-1 Wellness Committee had met on November 20, and its recommendations were considered. One item of contention was the recommendation that “the breakfast/lunch program will follow the guidelines established for the vending drink machines.”
After considerable discussion, that line was dropped from the plan, which eventually passed on a 6-1 vote. The policy is available for review at the central office.
In other business, the board heard the Health Services report from school nurse Susan Thomson, who listed many strengths, including immunizations, screening and referrals and classes on health issues at the elementary level.
Program concerns included communications with parent and staff, and increased workload without additional staffing.
The board also heard the food service report from Jane Saxton, who told the board that the breakfast program is very important for the school. She noted that many students don’t feel they have time to participate, and less than half of the free lunch students are eating breakfast.
The board also approved a technology service with Doty Computers, and approved an FCA leadership trip to the Lake of the Ozarks on January 5-6, 2008.