School Drug Testing Policy To Be Drafted Following 4-3 Vote

School Drug Testing Policy To Be Drafted Following 4-3 Vote

By Mike Scott

“We
have a definite problem at the high school.” Principal Jason Harper
said when the Clark County R-1 school board addressed the possibility of
drug testing again at their Thursday night, June 9 meeting.
“I think
there is a need for it, but if the community is not in favor of it,
then you (board members) would have to decide if you want a wedge
between the school and the community,” Harper continued.
For the past
several months, the CCR-1 board has been discussing implementing a
random drug testing program as a way to reduce illegal drug activity and
the high school and provide a safer learning environment for students
and staff.
Clark County is the only school in the Clarence Cannon Conference without a drug testing policy.
“Someone on the outside looking in could interpret that we are not testing so our kids can win at any cost,” said Jason Church.
The biggest issue remains which students can be tested, and what privilege can the district withhold for failing a drug test.
On
the advice of their attorney, the board will not seek to ban students
from parking in the school parking lot as a penalty, and only students
involved in non-graded extracurricular activities would be subject to
testing.
“If you only play football, you’re only in the test pool for
that season. If you’re a three-sport athlete, you’re in it all year,”
said CCR-1 Superintendent Ritchie Kracht.
“These kids are
representing our school and our community, and whether they like it or
not, they are role models,” said board member Kari Bevans.
Church
added that if the district did have a testing policy, it would allow
some kids to have a “legitimate out”, giving them a reason to avoid
drugs.
Board member Kevin Ross asked if kids would just quit the extracurricular activity to avoid being tested.
Board
member Craig Hunziker questioned if the testing pool would be large
enough to matter if students driving to school could not be included.
“What
I’ve heard in the community is that we should test all students, which
we can’t do, or none,” added board member Jason Acklie.
Bill Schutte
made a motion to draft a policy for random drug testing for students
involved in non-graded extracurricular activities in grades 9-12. Bevans
seconded the motion, which passed on a 4-3 vote, with Kevin Ross, Mark
Plenge and Craig Hunziker voting against the issue.
A policy will be drafted by the school’s attorney for review at the July board meeting.
The
board also approved the purchase of a $200 concussion assessment tool
to improve student safety. Students participating in softball, football,
basketball and cheerleading will be tested prior to the season to
establish a baseline of normal. In the event a student suffers an injury
that a coach suspects may have caused a concussion, the student will be
tested again. During games, the test would be conducted by a school
administrator to take the result and decision out of the coach’s hands, a
move which the coaches unanimously support, according to Jason Church.
During practice, the coach would conduct the test. Either way, if a
possible concussion is indicated, the student could not return to
practice or competition without a doctor’s release.
“This is a very
inexpensive way for us to provide another level of security for our
kids,” said Church. It’s a no-lose situation for us.”
The board
awarded three sidewalk project bids. Bash’s Concrete of Kahoka was the
low bidder for the High School and Middle School projects. Bash’s bids
were $$7200 to replace the sidewalk and install drainage channels on the
east side of the high school, and his middle school sidewalk bid was
$15,768.
Pierce Trucking of Canton won the bid for the Black Hawk Elementary sidewalk project with a bid of $15,300.
In other business, the board:
–Discussed
the impact of declining enrollment. The 2010-11 average daily
attendance was 881.21, down from 908.57 a year ago. School state aid is
approximately $3300 per student, and the base their aid on the higher of
the previous two years.
–Reported that Clark County had won the
overall Clarence Cannon Conference Sportsmanship Award, in its first
year as a member of the CCC.
–Summer school enrollment is down about
50 students from last year, largely because parents had to finalize
child care plans before the district could commit to providing summer
school this year because of uncertainties in state funding.
–Summer school activities have included field trips to Bentonsport, IA, Athen’s State Historic Site, and the CARE Building.
–Julie Brotherton presented the Districts school-wide Title plan.
–Superintendent Ritchie Kracht presented a construction progress report. The architect is confident the district is on track.
–The board set Tuesday, June 28, at 6:00pm to hold its annual budget meeting.

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