MORRISTOWN — Union Local School District is looking for community input as it forms a new drug testing policy.
Superintendent Ben Porter told the board of education Thursday that a public meeting on the matter is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the high school commons.
“We will be having an open discussion in terms of drug testing policy — drug testing for students. We’ve discussed this on prior years, and we’d really like to get student input and community and parent input,” he said. “We’d like to share our ideas and get feedback at that time … and obviously be open to any ideas they might have.”
Porter said the policy would coincide with student membership in the Belmont County Staying Clean drug-free clubs, in which many students participate.
“Right now, we currently work through the drug-free club of Belmont County, which is a great organization doing great things,” high school Principal Zac Shutler said. “We really would like to continue with that. Really it’s about prevention. It’s about information, and it’s about giving parents a chance to help their kids if they do have an issue, and also our students who aren’t using, which is the vast majority, letting them be positive role models and examples.”
Porter said the policy would focus on high school and older middle school students and could be in place by next school year.
“Our intent is that we don’t want to use it as a ‘gotcha’ type of process. We want to be able to get kids the support they need and give them an alternative out if they’re approached about using,” he said. “If there’s a need for support, we want to get students that support early on. … We’ve studied a lot of policies, and we’ve studied Ohio law and plenty of Supreme Court cases. … I feel like we put the time in and developed an understanding. Now’s the time to gather more input.”
“I’m not saying … for somebody to pass a drug test to play or participate, that’s not what we’re saying. But more so just to hopefully getting a foundation in place. I feel we have supports here for our students through student services and partnership with The Village Network to provide support to students who may need it,” Porter said.
Meanwhile, board member Terry Puperi said the district received a report from the Ohio Auditor’s Office of a perfect audit for the sixth year in a row. The board commended Treasurer Janet Hissrich and her staff.
“We’ve got a great staff,” Hissrich said, noting the district should have a certificate regarding the perfect audit by the March meeting.
Board member Dan Lucas also reported that a high percentage of Union Local’s vocational students attending Belmont Career Center earned spots on the honor roll and principal’s list the second nine weeks.
“There’s actually 45 students that are on the honor roll, and 16 of them are from Union Local,” Lucas said. “Not every school has the same amount of students, but there’s seven schools.”
He said three of the 13 students on the principal’s list were from Union Local. He said the honor roll and principal’s list numbers were similar during the first nine weeks.
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