By BRAD KEITH
The Flash Today
STEPHENVILLE (May 18, 2016) — Superintendent Matt Underwood believes its time for the school district to examine drug testing.
But don’t expect Underwood to support stiff penalties for first-time users.
“What I have a problem with is removing students from a program or from school and that having an adverse affect and actually adding to the opportunity for them to be involved in that kind of lifestyle,” said Underwood Wednesday.
The topic of drug use among students came up during Underwood’s superintendent’s report in the regular May school board meeting Monday at Bond Auditorium. It was not an action item, nor does Underwood believe the board is ready to consider action on the topic.
“At this point we’re just gathering information and seeing what the best course of is,” Underwood said. “I’d like to take a look at other schools in our district and schools similar to us around the area and see what they are doing, how effective it is and what it’s costing them.”
The following survey question and student responses were shared with trustees:
Of 1,575 students surveyed, 245 answered “a few of them.” That is slightly less than 16 percent. There were 62 students – slightly less than 4 percent – who answered “about half of them,” 50 students – just more than 3 percent – who answered “more than half of them,” and 43 students – less than 3 percent – who answered “all of them.”
Still, 1,157 of 1,575 students – about 75 percent – answered “none of them,” meaning those students claim to have no friends who use drugs.
“There isn’t really a way to confirm the accuracy of the survey because we can’t force students to answer every question honestly,” Underwood pointed out. “The only thing I really know to do is to give (drug testing) a try and see what comes of it.”
He even has a unique idea for first-time offenders.
“I’ve even wondered if the first failed test couldn’t just be reported directly to the parents without the school knowing about it, and give them a chance to handle the situation at home,” he said.
One thing is for sure. The subject of drug testing at SISD is not going away anytime soon.
“It’s just a discussion right now, Underwood said, “We want to see some more feedback and run some budget numbers and see where we’re at with it.”
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