Student Drug Testing Policy Approved

Published 11:31 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BUCKINGHAM — A new policy implementing random drug testing among Buckingham students involved in school sports and extracurricular activities was approved Juny 8 by the Buckingham County School Board.

The action stipulates that students involved in extracurricular activities, such as student government or Future Business Leaders of America, are subject to the testing.

The new policy states that testing will be performed on a sample population equating to 10 percent of the total student athletes, per school, per sports season. “A student-athlete becomes eligible for drug testing upon being listed on the Middle School Team Roster List for middle school students and the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Master Eligibility List for high school students,” states the policy.

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The policy will be implemented this coming school year, which begins in early August.

According to Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead, the board requested the policy be considered.

Snead said during the meeting that the policy covered extracurricular activities, but language would be added to point out such.

He said the practices and procedures regarding students found in violation of the policy were being developed. Snead said that if a student involved in extracurricular activities is found to have used illegal substances, the punishment wouldn’t be academically punitive. “It’s handled through the extracurricular activity, period. In other words, suspension from games, suspension from the season …,” said Snead.

“If a student goes extracurricular, such as football, basketball, track, SCA, FBLA, etcetera, not co-curricular … a student no longer has that reasonable right to privacy once they enter into extracurricular activity,” Snead said, citing case law, after noting that all students enrolled in the division have a right to privacy absent reasonable suspicion.

There would be a counseling and support component implemented as well, he said.

According to the policy, if a student-athlete refuses to be tested or attempts to tamper with or assists others in tampering with the sample, the athlete will be dropped from the team, absent extenuating circumstances.

The substances to be commonly tested for are alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, imitation controlled substances, illegal drugs and athletic performance enhancement and anabolic steroids.

According to the policy, a random selection with replacement would be used for the testing process. “A Third Party Administrator (TPA) will be contracted to conduct all testing and will be responsible for the random selection with replacement and testing process … Testing will be performed on a sample population equating to 10 percent of the total population of student athletes, per school, per sports season (fall, winter, spring). The number of testing sessions may vary,” states the policy.

In the event the final report has identified any failures to provide a sample, or verified positive test results, the TPA will contact the superintendent or his designee, who will notify the principal, states the policy. “The principal will contact the parent/guardian and a conference will be scheduled to present the test results to the parent/guardian.”

For positive results for the use of anabolic steroids, the policy states, an athlete will also be ineligible to compete in school events for two years, per school board policy.

“A failure to provide a sample will be considered a positive test result unless there are extenuating medical circumstances that physically prevent a student from providing a sample,” states the policy.

The document states that the policy is not designed to be academically punitive, but to ensure the student’s health while participating in athletics.

Drug testing would be performed by collecting a urine sample at each school.

“If a student has not provided a reliable sample by the end of the school day, then the student will be ineligible to participate in the remaining portion of that sports season absent extenuating circumstances,” states the policy.

In the event of a positive test result, a medical review officer will make direct contact with the parent or guardian to resolve any extenuating circumstances, medical or other, that may have contributed to an inability to provide a sample, or a positive test result, cites the document.

“Buckingham County Schools will not be involved in resolving positive testing results … After all testing and test results have been verified, the final report will be provided by the TPA to the superintendent. …”