Hart District Officials consider making students involved in extra curricular activities take drug tests.
At first, the drug testing was being considered as a voluntary effort, but after support shown from both officials and the audience at the meeting, mandatory testing a much discussed option.
Paul Strickland, a board member, says that he is very aware of this growing problem. “We do very well here, but we are concerned about the drugs here, because they do exist.” Yet, some parents have voiced their concerns to Strickland, saying that they believe school officials should seek parental consent before testing.
In the past, police have used drug-sniffing dogs to try to find drugs at schools. “At the time, it was good, but with time and technology, kids find ways to avoid detection,” says Strickland. He also says that students, in the past, would see the dogs come to school, and would text their friends letting them know they were there. Teens would also park their cars off campus to avoid getting caught.
In the next district meeting, the board will discuss how much they can do, how other districts handle these situations, and what to do when a test comes out positive. Also, the board will have to determine to make the test voluntary or mandatory.
The discussion underscores the board's feelings that drugs are a major issue in the contemporary education climate. “This isn’t just a local problem, this is a national problem. These are kids, that are growing up, experimenting and learning about life, and drugs aren’t the answer.”
The drug tests would apply for all extra curricular activities, including, band, theater, dance, ASB, and especially athletics.
Although the board wants to help the students, there is only so much they can do, Strickland concludes: “We have to protect them, until they are old enough to make their own decisions. But, at the same time, we aren’t the parents, and there are boundaries.”