On Tuesday, the district's board of education approved during the regular session the adoption of a student drug testing policy -- but not before discussion by board members.
Board member Paul H. Boyd recalled eight years ago when the R-6 school board then looked at implementing a student drug testing policy.
"... This board took an extensive look at that time and opened discussion in the community," Boyd said. "I'm aware of that by talking to a board member at that time. ... At the end of the discussion, the board decided not to implement a policy."
Boyd went on to say that when he became president of the school board in April 2007, he wanted to look at student drug testing because of the interest shown in the past. He said this board began studying a policy a month ago and doesn't think it's given the policy due diligence.
"... Although we have some input from a group who are well meaning but perhaps are not as informed about the process that I don't think this policy at this time implemented in this manner is the proper thing to do," Boyd said.
Vice President Rick Adams said at last count, the board had received about 200 signatures from R-6 parents in support of a student drug policy.
"We frequently propose policies and build on them without having widespread community input, and that's part of our responsibility as the school board," Adams said.
Adams noted neighboring school districts have had student drug testing policies in place for several years.
Board member Ken Stone said he thinks of this issue being one of the platforms of the last three people elected to the board, and they're carrying out the will of the people who elected them.
"Its (this policy) not necessarily something that has come up in a month," said board member Amy Blanton. "As Paul said, for eight years there has been an interest. When you look at schools in the surrounding area, many have had a policy for five or six years."
She continued:"The board investigated and read many polices from many schools and pulled our policy together, and this is something we have spent time doing and have thought very seriously by all board members. It will help our students to be better students."
Scott Crumpecker said he personally struggled with how to vote because he didn't feel this was the traditional way the board goes about matters. Although he called the policy a "feel-good bill," Crumpecker said it's something the board could work on in the future.
Following a roll call vote, the measure was approved, 6 to 1. Boyd was the only board member to vote against adopting this policy.
Under the policy, students eligible for random drug testing are those who participate in activities regulated by Missouri State High School Activities Association, excluding all activities in which students receive an academic grade for participation.
A student may be required to submit to a drug test when there is reasonable suspicion that the student is under the influence of or has recently consumed alcohol or any drug prohibited by the district policy.
Students who test positive will be disciplined in accordance with the district's discipline code and may also be temporarily or permanently excluded from all district extracurricular activities. The district will use an outside agency to randomly test students in the pool.
"Due to the timing of athletic practices (which began Monday for fall sports), we will be implementing this in early October," said Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller about the new policy.
An orientation session will be held before the policy is implemented to inform students and parents/guardians of the policy and to give them a consent form to sign, Borgsmiller said. Exact dates for policy implementation and the parent/student meeting will be announced in the near future, he said.