VERMILION — The Vermilion Board of Education met Tuesday to further discuss its proposed drug-testing policy.
The board released a proposed draft of the policy, which would require all students in grades eight through 12 who are participating in athletics, extracurricular activities and those purchasing a parking permit, to consent to random drug testing. The student and his parents would be required to provide a written consent form to the testing prior to the student’s participation, according to the two-page draft.
Superintendent Phil Pempin said if the policy works, parents may also have the option of entering their children into the random testing pool, regardless of the children’s extracurricular involvement. Pempin said the legality of that would need to be examined at a later date.
The board agreed to pay for the cost of testing unless a split sample test is requested by a parent or student, but it did not agree to the type of test it would choose.
Kyle Prueter, president of Great Lakes Biomedical, attended the meeting to discuss the split sampling procedure, which may be done to confirm a positive test.
Prueter said split sampling can be done if a student tests positive and wants to send the sample to another laboratory to re-test it.
The current proposal states that any student who fails or refuses to produce a sample “in a reasonable amount of time” will be prohibited from participation in designated activities until a sample is obtained and tested. The results of the test will not be part of a student’s permanent record, and information will not be released to law enforcement unless in response to a subpoena. The policy draft also states information will only be “released to persons designated in Board regulations and procedures.”
The board did not make any decisions on who would be designated to handle the results, but according to the draft, the superintendent handles any violations.
The board also discussed which extracurricular activities would be subject to drug testing. Board President Tim Rini said members would create a list to include with the policy.
According to the proposed policy, students would not be suspended or expelled because of violations of the drug testing policy, except “as stated in Administrative Guidelines.” Any student who aids or abets another student in violating the policy will also be subject to discipline.
The school board also re-worked its administrative guidelines to coincide with the policy, including adding a list of banned substances and consequences of positive drug test results.
Consequences include that a student found to be using drugs must go to counseling or be banned from school activities.
The school board’s attorney, John Britton, reviewed the policy. Board member Sid Jordan said during a July 2 meeting it was important that the proposal be legally sound.
Cindy Akers, administrative assistant for Superintendent Phil Pempin, would not release Britton’s attorney fees for the service, citing “attorney-client privilege.”
The school board said a proposal should be finalized before the start of school.
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