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Tyrone School Board passes Drug Testing policy

After a process that saw nine revisions and many hours of debate, the Tyrone Area School District Board of Directors passed with a 8-0 vote their policy on random drug testing for extra curricular activities.
“This policy started with Becky (Erb), Tony (Yaniello) and I started witht he research of the policy,” said Dr. William Miller, TASD Superintendent. “We received copies of Altoona’s and Johnsonburg’s policies and when the Supreme Court made their decision upholding testing on extra-cirricular activities, it opened the door even more. We have revised with intensive involvement with the Board of Directors to make it a fair policy with some teeth.”
To participate in any extra-curricular activity in grades 7-12 at the Tyrone School system, students and parents must sign a permission form authorizing the School District to test for drugs and alcohol.
The District will randomly select students to be tested and if the student tests positive for marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, barbiturates, alcohol or other substances considered illegal or controlled substances under federal or state law, the student shall be disqualified from further participation as outlined in the policy.
If a student tests positive, the school principal will convene a meeting with the student and their parent or guardian. The student will participate in the student Assistance Program (SAP). The student will be required to participate in a drug and alcohol assessment with a certified drug and alcohol evaluator. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the activity.
The penalty phase includes four phases.
For a first offense, the student will be suspended from participation and attendance until a negative test is achieved. A fifteen (15) school day waiting period is required between the notification of a positive test result and when retesting may occur. A student with a positive test result may request to be tested on a random test date or schedule his or her own test with the District approved vendor at his or her expense. However, that testing will follow school guidelines. If a succeeding test is also deemed positive, this will be considered a second offense.
A second offense will cause the student to be suspended from participation/competition for a period of fifty (50%) percent of all contests or events in which the student participates, based on the regular season of each activity. If there is not 50% of a season remaining, the percentage of the suspension not served shall be recalculated with the remainder of suspension carried out for the same activity during the ensuing year.
An example of the second offense is if a student who participates in football tests positive for the second time and the student also participates in basketball and baseball, the student will be suspended for 50% of the basketball season and 50% of the baseball season as well as 50% of the football season.
The student will be required to retest before the start of another sport season or activity in which he or she will be a participant. The student must test negative prior to his or her return to competition or participation.
For a third positive test, the student will be suspended from participation, practice and competition for one calendar year from the date of the offense. The student must test negative prior to his or her return to athletic competition or extra-curricular participation.
With a fourth offense, the student will be barred from all athletic and extra-curricular competitions and activities for the remainder of the current school term and the next two school terms.
This policy is for the testing aspect only. All other Board policies on drugs and alcohol concerning use, possession or distribution of illegal substances on school premises shall remain unaffected by this policy.
“The policy is punitive but rehabilitative,” said Miller. “Everyone will be treated equally. We have even gone to the point that if a student is on school grounds for an activity, they are subject to the testing. We will do a lot of work with the staff, students and parents. We want everyone to know the rules right from the start. There is a drug problem here and we have to deal with it.”
The Board also hosted representatives from Pyramid Health Care and the details from that discussion will appear in tomorrow’s Daily Herald.