I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ECSD Draft Random Drug Testing Policy Unveiled

At today's discussion workshop of the Escambia County School Board, the district's proposed random drug testing policy was unveiled.  This policy was one of the components of the recent push to curb drug use among district students.

The plan as outlined is to have students submit a consent form to a random drug screening if these students wish to drive their vehicles on school property, participate in athletics, or become involved in extra/co-curricular programs.  Not every student will be required to submit a consent form--just those who wish to participate in the above named activites. 

The  detailed plan given to the board this afternoon goes through the process of how the students will be randomly selected and also how a positive test result will be handled. 

The plan was developed by a committe comprised of the school board attorney, multiple members of district staff, community members, parents, and other interested persons.  The recommended policies are in line with what was described in the district's newly implemented comprehensive drug awareness plan;   In many respects, this testing component will be the strongest tool we have to deter district students from taking drugs.  If students know they can be tested and testing positive for drugs could preclude their participation in sports or other extracurriculars--these students will have a powerful incentive to say no to drugs.

I'm very impressed with the thought that was put into this plan, and I'm appreciative of the fact that the board is being brought into discussions about this plan early in the planning stages. 

We've been asked to look the plan over carefully and to identify any major issues we as board members might have with the plan.  The Superintendent stated that his goal was to have all five board members firmly committed to this plan. From today's meeting, the sense I got was that the entire board does support this plan.  As Bill Slayton aptly put it, "We're good with it as long as the [ECSD] Legal department says we can do it"

This policy is going to get a lot of attention and I have a feeling the majority of parents in our district will embrace this.  As a parent with three students in this district--I know that this random testing component, along with the drug dog searches, will drastically curb the incidnces of illegal drugs being brought to school campuses districtwide-and this is great!

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