Portage schools chief may recommend random drug testing policy

2013-03-06T20:15:00Z 2013-03-06T20:31:06Z Portage schools chief may recommend random drug testing policyJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Portage Township Schools Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia said he may recommend a policy requiring random drug testing of high school students in the next few months.

Frataccia told the School Board on Wednesday night that he is "very interested" in developing a policy.

"We have to put more realistic tools in kids' hands," said Frataccia.

One tool, he said, is that the chance of a random test would allow students to say no to taking drugs if they thought they would be tested. A test would also identify students with drug issues and provide a platform to help those students.

"I am studying it so I can present it to the board logically. It is a step I am struggling with," he said, adding that drug use is prevalent throughout Northwest Indiana and more needs to be done to help students struggling with the issue.

"We have to ask, is this the right thing we can give the kids," he said.

Frataccia said he would like to have a proposed policy developed for board discussion and action before the end of the current school year and have it implemented by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

Frataccia's announcement that he was developing a policy came Wednesday night as Tim Kunstek, Portage High School home school adviser, reported on a new drug counseling program being offered at the high school.

Kunstek said they received a grant from the Porter County Substance Abuse Council to hold a substance abuse and relapse prevention class with the Choices Counseling Center for qualifying students.

Thirteen students completed the first six-session class recently. Three students were recommended from teen court; two were court ordered and eight are night school students.

Kunstek said the free program encourages parent involvement and helps teach students and families to lead a drug-free life. After the six sessions, students check in with Kunstek on a weekly basis. Parents are encouraged to drug test their children after the classes are completed.

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