Lexington One School Board members consider drug testing policy for student-athletes

(ColaDaily.com) Student-athletes in Lexington School District One could undergo random drug testing starting in the fall.

School board members reviewed first reading of a new board policy Tuesday, but it will need second reading approval before going into effect.

According to school district documents, the policy would “establish a program and procedures for random drug testing of district students in grades 7–12 involved in a school-sponsored interscholastic athletic competition.” The goals of the policy are to deter drug use among student-athletes, prevent injury because of the misuse of drugs and to educate and counsel students about drug use.

The draft of the policy defines a drug as being, but not limited to, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, methamphetamines, PCP, Ecstasy, unauthorized prescription medications and/or any other substance defined as a controlled substance by either state or federal law.

If school board members approve the policy, “failure to consent to participation in the drug testing program will automatically exclude any individual from participation in any school-sponsored interscholastic athletic competition,” according to the policy draft.

Random testing would be conducted by a professional lab at the district’s expense. The policy draft said officials would test 25 percent of students annually.

A first offense violation of the district’s drug policy would result in 14 days of ineligibility from games and school practices, and a second offense would increase suspension from activities to 90 days. If a student tests positive a third time, he or she would be ineligible for one calendar year, and students who test positive four times will be declared permanently ineligible.

Lexington One’s Chief Communications Officer Mary Beth Hill said school officials don’t expect the policy to affect students until the 2015-16 school year since the board won’t take up second reading until May.

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