Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2007

Teaching should be key in district drug testing plan

June 14, 2007

After receiving the first draft of a drug testing policy last week, the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education directed a committee that authored it to discuss issues involved with such a policy with the district's legal counsel. While doing so, board members generally voiced support for the goals of such a policy.

The draft testing policy, and at this time that is all it is, was produced by a committee of teachers, administrators, parents and students. It would apply to all middle or high school students participating in school activities, attending activities or parking at the school parking lot -- in short, just about all students.

Despite a general agreement with the goals of the committee, the board was determined not to rush into any policy and also would like to integrate a student testing policy with one aimed at staff.

The school district has the duty to protect those entrusted to its care and to provide the best learning environment possible. Still, the school district is not a law enforcement agency but an educational institution. Its goal with any program put in place for students should not be to punish but to educate.

The draft seems to understand that and certainly De Soto High School Principal Dave Morford expressed that same sentiment, saying the policy would give students another way to say "no."

As such, the draft proposed students receive three chances before losing privileges and mitigate consequences if a student underwent drug counseling. That may seem overly generous, but not if the goal is education and a desire to reach youngsters engaged in self-destructive behavior.

Once again, board members indicated they weren't in a rush to implement a policy and they wanted to do it right. They also invited the participation of parents.

A policy that could effectively direct the educational resources of the school district at the social level would indeed be an asset to the community.

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