Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2006

Possible drug testing draws mixed reviews

October 26, 2006

At De Soto High School, it's still uncertain whether drug testing of students will take effect.

Earlier this month, De Soto High School principal Dave Morford and Mill Valley High School principal Joe Novak asked the board about a task force to study random drug testing of students participating in school activities. Both principals said that drugs and alcohol are a problem at the schools -- as with most schools -- and random drug testing of students could help deter negative lifestyle choices.

Morford said the committee isn't fully formed yet.

"Right now we're just working on putting it together," he said. "We're going to investigate if we actually want to do testing, and if we do, what we want to test for."

Morford said the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld drug testing of students, but only those involved in activities -- because education is a right, while involvement in school activities is a privilege.

DHS senior Matt Woywod said drug testing would be a waste of time at the school.

"I think it's ridiculous," he said. "De Soto has one of the smaller drug problems out of all the high schools around Kansas."

He said he thought administrators were exaggerating the problems of drugs and alcohol, especially at De Soto High School.

"I'd say our school is pretty responsible and everybody gets stuff done," Woywod said. "There's no violence, and nobody even really skips school."

His mother, Anita Woywod, said she could understand the need for drug testing as long as administrators and staff were subjected to the same requirements.

"It sets a precedent," she said. "We're adults, and we're going to be in on this with you. If it's good for one, it's good for all."

Toni Caldwell, whose has a son in the high school, said she would have to find out more about the testing methods before making a decision on whether to support it.

"We don't want to single out a group," she said. "They're going to have to be careful on how they approach it."

Caldwell said she thought use of drugs -- especially alcohol -- was on the rise with teenage students.

"But it's not just our school; it's every school," she said. "It's a fine line between the invasion of privacy."

Caldwell said she would prefer parents and students sign a form about drug testing so that they're aware of the consequences.

Morford said the task force would include parents and a few students. The committee would present their ideas to the school board, and the board would have to make a public decision before implementing testing.

"We just wanted to ask the opportunity to go ahead and set up a committee so we could take a look at it," Morford said.

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