Drug testing decision tabled

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Board members say they want to do more research before approving a program

By Stevie Lowery

There will not be student drug testing at Marion County High School, for now at least.

The Marion County Board of Education tabled the decision to approve a drug testing policy Tuesday evening, June 14, during its regular monthly meeting.

In March, the board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution for a drug-testing program at MCHS for the 2011-12 school year.

However, after discovering that the program would need additional funding and realizing the amount of additional work that could be involved and the potential problems that could arise, the board decided to hold off on making a decision.

"We want to make sure we put together a good program and not bite off more than we can handle," Board Member Mike Cecil said.

However, Cecil said he didn't want the public to think they were giving up on the program.

"This is not backing away from it..." Cecil said. "This is just a timeout."

Board Chairman Michael Mullins said the board just needed more time and more information before adopting a policy.

"I want the public to know that we're not changing our stand on this," Mullins said.

Cecil suggested that the board have a work session at a later date to discuss a possible drug-testing program.


Earlier this year, the Marion County Heartland Safe Community Coalition provided $5,000 to be used for student drug testing. But, the Drug Testing Implementation Committee, which met on five different occasions, discovered that MCHS would need an additional $5,000, at least.

The school board will hold on to the money from the coalition until a program is implemented, Chairman Mullins said.

“We intend to do it,” he said. “We just want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row before we implement it.”

Board attorney Joe Mattingly has drafted a proposed policy, which would require athletes, students in extra-curricular activities, students who drive to school and students who volunteer or are enrolled by their parents to be included in the random drug testing pool throughout the year.