CASSTOWN — The Miami East Local Schools board of education verbally agreed to move forward to explore a pilot year of on-site random drug-testing its students on Monday.
Miami East Local Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said a staff/parent/community committee would be formed soon to set up the district’s policies and procedures to implement the pilot program as soon as the fall.
President Brandon Fellers said he supports moving forward with the initiative and to gain feedback from the public and to explore the cost of the program.
“It’s something we take seriously in this district to think about safety and being proactive. We have to continue to be proactive and make sure we put a good plan in place that works for everybody,” Fellers said.
The rest of the board agreed to move forward with a committee to explore a plan and feasibility for the district.
Rappold said while the district allows sheriff’s office K-9 sweeps there has not been any recent issues with any type of drug or contraband.
According to its website, Great Lakes BioMedical, located in Perrysburg, would conduct tests on site. The website claimed the company can process up to 100 students in one hour with same day results.
“We think it’s a team effort with our parents, we’d like to be a participant in that team effort. We think if we were to discuss the feasibility of a random drug test we’d be proactive to partner with parents,” Rappold said.
Rappold said it’s not the district’s intent to design a “gotcha” or surprise program, it would focus on prevention.
“It’s just being proactive,” Rappold said. “Our kids and our community (and) their views on the abuse of drugs, they are very adamant that they don’t want them doing that, so I would view random drug tests as being a preventive (and) proactive.”
Rappold said feedback from parents has been positive and will continue to gather information and the community’s input on the matter.
“God forbid if we were to find anyone that had made a poor choice, we’d work with the parents and the kids to get them back on track at an early age so they don’t make worse decisions later on in life,” Rappold said.
Rappold said the discussion wasn’t due to one specific event, rather than the wide-spread reported local drug epidemic of heroin and the gradual legalization of marijuana in several states. Medical marijuana in vapor form is currently being reviewed in the Ohio Senate after passing the Ohio House of Representatives on May 10. The bill’s sponsor Rep. Dr. Stephen Huffman, is the district’s representative, and is a physician from Tipp City.
“I think we’d be remiss to wait until a student had an accident or a tragedy to implement some sort of program,” Rappold said. “We’ve been very fortunate and our parents take this very seriously and have always been very receptive when we’ve reached out to try to work with parents.”
In February 2015, Covington Exempted Village Schools board of education passed a policy to randomly drug test students in grades 7-12 who participate in extracurricular activities and use school parking passes. The policy states the district must have parental consent to drug test the student, which is legal in Ohio. For more information, visit www.miamieast.k12.oh.us
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