BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
A Boardman Local Schools Drug testing Committee recommended a voluntary drug testing program for the Boardman system during the local school board’s June meeting held last week at Center Middle School.
Addressing the school board on behalf of the committee was member Sue Downie.”The program we recommend is a voluntary program,” Mrs. Downie said, adding “By making it voluntary, parents have a choice...The program would be open to all students, athletes and non-athletes.”
In recommending a voluntary program, the burden of the cost of the program and responsibility of providing a rehabilitation program for students who could test positive would be shifted to parents, and not the local school system.
“Drug use is a social issue,” Mrs. Downie said, noting a voluntary program would be open to all students.
“It is an important program for our students and it is amazing how many parents said they would have their children tested,” Mrs. Downie told the school board.
Boardman High School Principal Tim Saxton told the school board he hoped sports teams “would decide to do this,” adding “The results would go straight to the parents...It would be on their shoulders to notify us, we wouldn’t get any results.”
School Board President Ken Beraduce said the board could act on the recommendation at the group’s July meeting.
The full recommendation of the committee included the following:
•The drug testing program would be provided as an ancillary service to school families on a strictly voluntary basis.
•A base program would include a 9-panel drug screen.
•Parents could upgrade to a screen that also included tests for steroids, alcohol and other substances.
•The committee recommended using Work Med as the testing organization.
•The enrollment period could be set anytime during the school year. (Mrs. Downie said that the committee recommended that no students be pulled from a classroom for a drug test).
•Athletic teams could decide if they wanted to volunteer for the tests as a group.
•Reporting of positive results would be left to the discretion of parents.
•A handout detailing the program would be created for school families.
•Information would be provided to any parent requesting an immediate drug screen.
•So-called future communications on drug testing would be provided through school mailings, PTA newsletters, pre-season sports meetings and at open houses.
“This could be a great service, a starting point,” Beraduce said.
The school board also held some discussion of its newly-instituted $50 sports fee of $50, raising discussion on the cost of the program and how it applies to student-athletes who compete in more than one sport; and as it relates to families who have more than one child competing in sports programs.
The drug testing committees, in a handout given only to the school board, said the cost of the school system to finance a drug screening program would be between $40,000 to $60,000 annually, and that costs should not be passed on to parents “with the new addition of an athletic
According to information presented at the June meeting by Treasurer Richard Santilli, the Boardman Local Schools operate on an annual budget of some $52.393 million.