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Van-Far R-I district discusses potential drug policy

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

After a series of meetings with coaching staff, and activity sponsors and directors, the Van-Far School District fine-tuned drug testing measures for its extracurricular activities.
As discussed during the district’s regular March 21 meeting, the testing would govern student participation in both Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) and non-MSHSAA sanctioned activities — from athletics to student organizations to quiz bowl. Graded pastimes, such as band, may provide a loophole. The measure is hoped to be in effect by August.
“I think all of us, when we had this meeting, thought this was something that we have to do,” Holly Jungers, Van-Far’s athletics director, told the school board. “This is one of those policies that we are all in agreement with. We know it’s not going to sell well. I think it’s important that we take this step.”
Jungers said the testing is not to trap students, rather, to help kids hanging on the fringe.
She said the best practice to implement testing would be including it with the initial the physical process for sports. Students in other organizations would be given an opportunity to complete a drug test at the beginning of the school year, after which testing would be random and handled by the testing company. Initial testing costs will be handled by the school district.
Students choosing not to complete initial testing and opt for testing at a later date — by choosing to participate in activities later in the school year — will incur  the cost of testing.
Suspensions for failing drug tests under the draft plan are as follows:
• The first failure results in a 30-day suspension from extracurricular activities.
• A second positive test results in a 365-day suspension that overlaps school years.
• A third positive drug test results in permanent suspension from district activities.

Read more in The Vandalia Leader’s March 27 issue.