Guidelines

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.








Saturday, January 22, 2011

Board Attorney Responds to ACLU Email of "Concern" Over Drug Testing Policy

The ACLU sent an email to the School Board Attorney last week, expressing "concern" over our district's proposed random drug testing policy.  Mrs. Donna Waters, School Board Attorney, responded with the below email to clarify the district's position.  (I'm just perplexed as to why the ACLU may have a concern over our proposed policy--yet they apparently have no issue with Santa Rosa County randomly drug testing their athletes.  Santa Rosa County has had a random testing plan for athletes in their policy for a number of years.  One would have assumed the ACLU was very familiar with Santa Rosa Schools given the recent history--but I digress...)



>>> Donna Waters 01/19/11 12:18 PM >>>


SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS – DO NOT ‘REPLY ALL’ – RESPOND ONLY TO ME

THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED SOLELY FOR THE ADDRESSEE LISTED. FORWARDING THIS EMAIL TO ANY OTHER BOARD MEMBER IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Benjamin:

I understand that the ACLU (and you and Susan as its representatives) do not agree with the concept of drug testing and have concerns about the district's adoption of such a policy.

Part of the Board's rule-making process is weighing the likelihood of a challenge and the costs of defense against the perceived need for a rule. In my role as legal advisor to the Board, I give my opinion as to whether a suit will be filed and how burdensome any litigation defending a rule would be. Based on my meeting with you and Susan on 12/17/10, I advised the Superintendent, Board and staff that I do not anticipate the ACLU filing litigation on this matter. That was, and remains, my understanding of our conversation -- that if the proposed policy complies with current case law, the local ACLU would be unlikely to file suit. In order to facilitate your review, I provided you the citations I had relied upon following the District's holiday break. If that is not your recollection of our conversation, please let me know.

There is a great difference between assessing the likelihood of litigation and determining whether someone actually supports adoption of a policy. If that distinction has been lost, I apologize and will ask the Superintendent to be sure that staff are representing your position accurately.

I will be forwarding you more regarding the budget and other questions you raised in your last email as soon as I get the information.

Donna



Donna Sessions Waters

General Counsel

Escambia County School Board

215 West Garden Street

Pensacola, Florida 32502

850-469-6362

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