Merrillville schools revising random drug test policy

2013-10-15T20:30:00Z 2013-10-15T21:47:35Z Merrillville schools revising random drug test policyCarmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

MERRILLVILLE | The Merrillville School Board will consider changes to the district's random drug testing policy when it meets Wednesday night.

Merrillville Superintendent Mark Sperling said he will recommend revising the random drug testing policy to remove random testing for tobacco and alcohol. "We haven't had any positive tests on tobacco or alcohol in several years," he said.

However, the reasonable suspicion program will remain in place, because the district has found "positive" results from the reasonable suspicion program, Sperling said.

The random drug testing policy, originally approved by the board in December 2005, called for the school corporation to conduct a mandatory random drug and alcohol testing program for all students participating in extracurricular activities including all athletics, clubs, organizations and activities sponsored by the school corporation.

It also affected students who applied for a driving/parking permit and students, who did not participate in extracurricular activities, but wished to voluntarily participate in the Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program.

Sperling said this will be the first reading of the revised Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy. The second or final reading of the policy will not take place until early November. Sperling said that will allow for any additional research or questions to be answered regarding the policy.

Originally adopted in January 1999, the Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy Reasonable Suspicion calls for the district to test a student if an administrator believes that based on circumstances which, when taken together in the context of the school building or activity in which they occur, would lead a reasonable person to believe a student has violated a state or federal law or a student rule. There will be no changes in that policy.

The Merrillville School Corp. will be responsible for the costs of all initial alcohol or drug tests based on reasonable suspicion. A request for a confirmation test following a positive test result will be the financial responsibility of the student or his/her parent or guardian.

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