Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

September 13, 2013

Batesville schools seek random drug testing input

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The possibility of randomly drug testing Batesville Community School Corp. students who participate in extracurricular activities or drive to school was discussed at the Sept. 9 Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville meeting after BCSC trustees explored the topic Aug. 19.

Superintendent and CDFB member Dr. Jim Roberts observed, “The question is ‘What is best for kids?’” Some opponents believe testing would be a violation of privacy rights. “The Fourth Amendment conversation will be one that will always exist.” Roberts also wondered whether testing is an effective deterrent.

He reported, “Since that (school board) meeting, I’ve compiled a long list of questions … about 40” as he and other officials do more drug testing research. The superintendent will send out a survey to 25 area school districts to gain input on what they are doing to curb illegal drug use.

“I have not gotten a good handle on costs yet,” according to Roberts. If trustees do institute a policy in the future, he pointed out they would have to decide what drugs to test for, how frequently and how many students would be randomly selected for testing.

Amanda Conn Starner, Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati employee, asked, “What happens if they do test positive?” Roberts answered, “We have no policy in place yet.” Cindy Blessing, a CDFB member who also is a BCSC trustee and Choices Program director, said, “We definitely want the deterrent there and we want to get help” for the student.

The superintendent added, “I want to give my (BCSC) kids as many tools as possible to address the difficult decisions they have to make.” As a businessman, he said he is worried about testing expenses. CDFB member and Margaret Mary Health employee Geralyn Litzinger asked, “Can parents assume some of the costs?”

On this issue, Roberts said, “We want public input. We want to know what the community thinks.” He said random drug testing “will be on the agenda from now until we come to a conclusion. You kind of do what your community expects you to do.”

BCSC meetings, which are open to the public, are usually the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Batesville Middle School commons. The next one is slated for Monday, Sept. 16.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.