Rossford High students who want to participate in athletics or extracurricular activities this coming school year must first pass a mandatory drug test.
The Rossford Board of Education approved implementing a drug-testing policy at its meeting Monday, and plans to soon name an outside agency to administer the testing, Rossford communications liaison Diana Hersch said. "We're going to have a little teeth in our zero-tolerance approach," she said.
Superintendent Luci Gernot said she recommended the program to the board after seeing an increase in the number of Rossford students reportedly using marijuana, according to a recent survey in Wood County commissioned by Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. In 2004, 33.8 percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the past year. That number jumped to 47.2 percent in 2006.
To combat those figures, all students participating in sports or other extra-curricular activities will be tested for drugs before the activity begins. Twenty percent of students participating in an activity will be randomly selected for testing throughout the season. The bill for the testing will go to the school board.
Those who test positive will face consequences.
On the first offense, a student would not be able to participate in any athletics or extracurricular activities for at least four weeks unless that student admits to using drugs or alcohol soon after the offense. A student could also be assigned to special classes in drug and alcohol education, support groups, possible treatment for chemical dependency, or community service.
A second offense would bar a student from participating in any extracurricular activity for one calendar year, and a third offense would ban a student from participating in any extra-curricular activities at Rossford schools.
"Our whole reason for having this is not to punish the students, but to make sure they make good, sound, healthy choices," Ms. Gernot said. "This gives our students another opportunity to avoid getting into situations that might get them into trouble."
Rossford is not the only district that has established a drug-testing program for district students.
In Ottawa County, the Genoa Area Local School District has had a policy in place for athletes attending the district's middle and high schools since fall, 2003.
In Erie County, the Margaretta Local School District plans to institute a drug-testing policy this coming school year for students in grades seven through 12 who participate in athletics or drive to school.
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