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Limestone County Schools Expand Drug Testing To All Extracurricular Participants

By 5-HT2A, Jan 29, 2016 | | |
  1. 5-HT2A
    LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - A major overhaul changes who is tested in Limestone County schools.

    For years, athletes grades 9-12 were the only ones subject to random testing, and if selected, they chose when they would take it.

    "We felt like that was missing the mark, the it was very ineffective," said Rusty Bates, the district's safety, athletics, and transportation director.

    They would only test about 100 students a year, and would receive little to no positive results. Bates says it would be naive to accept that as a true representation.

    "It'd be foolish to not think drugs are apparent in some of our schools, in all of our schools," said Bates.

    As of January 2016, the program is expanded to include:

    - Seventh and eighth graders
    - All student participants in any extracurricular activities (band, chess club, etc.)
    - All students who drive to school and apply for a parking permit

    The overhaul also tests students on campus instead of at a third-party location.

    The random, and more inclusive, drug testing is expected to be a deterrent.

    "When peer pressure strikes down, I want them to use us as an out for saying 'Hey I'm not going to do this," said Bates.

    Two samples are tested and if a student tests positive, the parents are alerted. In some cases, Bates says, parents supply proof that the student is taking a prescription drug, in which case the test results are discarded.

    If there is no medical proof of required/recommended/prescribed drug use, instead of suspending or expelling the student, they suspend their extracurricular participation for 365 days. After the year, they are tested again and, if clean, can gain reentry into their activities.

    "The only suspension is only through athletics, clubs, band, and of course driving," explained Bates.

    During the month of January, the district tested 137 students. They plan to test about the same number of drivers/athletes/club members every month, with an end goal of testing approximately 3,000 students for the year.

    The district is also looking into testing faculty and staff. Currently, the only district workers tested are bus drivers; their drug testing is conducted through a Department of Transportation program.

    by Shevaun Bryan

    January 26, 2016



  1. coolhandluke
    suspending a student who fail drug test is also almost COMPLETELY taking their chances of higher education after graduation away. When you go from high school to college without a break or anything things like being in some kind of extra cirriculars are pretty much required for any university. Also Many scolarships are for extra-cirriculars such as sports scholar ships. the united states is treats kids under 18 like they are, they can't vote so they have no real say. the number of parents that will object is much less because after all the pot nowadays is like heroin compared to the stuff they smoked.

    Not to mention the invasion of privacy and unwarranted search and seizure.
  2. Ghetto_Chem
    And I thought my school was bad when I was a kid, being the only school in our state to drug test kids who were in sports. It was "random" of course. I actually knew one kid who moved away because he thought he had a chance at becoming a pro athlete but liked to smoke pot haha. It is also the best public school in the state though so maybe that had something to do with it, they were a bunch of pretentious assholes.

    This is just sooo fucked up though. Did I read that right when they said they would take away a kids driving privileges for a year?? Or just the parking permit?

  3. Diverboone
    Drug testing High School kids is not a mean to an ends. In fact I believe this testing, that's being promoted as helping the students, will be much more harmful in collateral damage, than any positive effects it might have.

    Drug testing is not an infallible science, mistakes are made. In fact according to Bayes Theorem, the probability of being wrongfully accused increases when the percentage of drug users in a population decreases.

    The damage caused to ones life after being wrongfully accused is catastrophic for an adult. For a student it could very well be insurmountable.

    I can not grasp how those that promote and advocate for such testing can believe this is a good idea. I have to assume they are puppets of the War on Drugs.

    Last but not least is the 4th Amend intrusion, a direct violation of the warrantless search clause. The Governments intervention into the family unit. This is an issue for parents and their right to raise their children they way they see fit.

    The SCOTUS has struck down similar drug testing programs. But has upheld drug test extracurricular activities students. It seems this school district has taken a very broad definition of "extracurricular activities". I'm sure the ACLU has their eyes upon this hornets nest.
  4. coolhandluke
    also with school districts having to practically send people out to pan handle for funding what are they going to have to cut from the kids education to pay for these tests. We can keep using these 15 year old science books so we can pay for random drug testing, that makes a lot of sense.
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