New Richmond Exempted Village School District Supt. Adam Bird has asked the Board of Education to consider implementing random drug testing for New Richmond High School athletics and extracurricular participants.
“It will give our students an additional reason to say no to peer pressure regarding drugs and alcohol,” Bird told the Board at its April meeting.
Random drug testing has been discussed by Bird and School Board Policy Committee members Kim Hayden and Kristin Bennett and is on the agenda for the next committee meeting.
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Bailey (NRHS principal Mark Bailey) and Mr. Foote (NRHS athletic director Doug Foote) and several coaches at the high school and all have spoken positively about it,” said Bird.
Bird, at the request of Mrs. Hayden and Mrs. Bennett, surveyed area schools for their drug testing policies and found that only Milford currently has random drug testing among area school districts.
Milford started its program in 2006 and pulls about five students a week from a randomly selected list of students participating in athletics and extracurricular activities such as drama club, jazz band, National Honor Society.
A national survey by National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104025/ ) found that 22 percent of high school students surveyed admitted to experimenting with alcohol or drugs. That percentage dropped to 16 at schools with random drug testing.
“I bring this to you, not just on a whim, not just to throw it out there, but this is something that I am very serious about,” Bird said at the Board’s April meeting. “I think this is very important for our schools and our community which continues to experience heroin deaths and continues to experience drug use and drug problems.”
Board member and former school board president Kevin Walriven agreed.
“You have to start somewhere,” said Walriven.” We know there is a community drug problem and you can’t sit back and do nothing.”
Under current New Richmond Exempted Village School District Policy, participation in interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities is a privilege, not a right. A student athlete who has violated the New Richmond Exempted Village School District Policy regarding drugs, alcohol, controlled substances and tobacco will be subject to the following penalties: denied game participation for 20% of scheduled regular season games/contests for first offense; 50% of their sport season for a second offense if they agree to education/intervention and treatment at the student’s expense; and denied participating in athletics for the rest of his/her New Richmond High School career for a third offense pending a hearing of the Superintendent and/or designee.
The full New Richmond High School athletic handbook is available at http://www.nrschools.org/Downloads/AthleticHandbook_2014-152.pdf.