One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

MLSD board members disagree on the merits of drug-testing students

The Manchester Local School District recently voted to institute a drug testing program.  From left, Ashley Grooms, Kathleen Stacy, Dave McFarland, Terry Himes, and Rick Foster.
The Manchester Local School District recently voted to institute a drug testing program. From left, Ashley Grooms, Kathleen Stacy, Dave McFarland, Terry Himes, and Rick Foster.

Will the expensive, unproven program deter substance abuse?   Proponents  argue it’s worth the cost to find out –

By Patricia Beech –

Should public school students be drug tested?
It’s a controversial subject and even though statistics do not yet back up the effectiveness of such programs, many high schools  across the country are turning to this approach to fight the growing  drug problem.
During the 2016-17 school year Manchester Local School District (MLSD) will become the first Adams County school to implement drug  testing for students involved in extra-curricular and co-curricular  activities.
“We discussed the pros and cons over several meetings,” said MLSD  board member Rick Foster. “I believe that the District can contribute to solving the overall drug problem in our region by holding our students to a high standard. The intent never has been to ‘target’ or  ‘catch’ students. It will hopefully steer them away from this behavior  in the first place.”
However, not all the MLSD board members agree with Foster’s  assessment of the program’s purpose or its effectiveness.
“I’m a veteran and I fought for our rights,” said board member  Terry Himes. “I believe that drug testing is invasive and we’re presuming guilt before innocence. I think it does more to drive a a stake between adults and children in school. When you tell a student you’re going to drug test them it conveys the idea that they aren’t trusted. So why would they trust any adult?”
The conundrum for school administrators charged with providing a  safe, supportive, and healthy school environment is the dismal lack of  effective, non-  invasive drug prevention programs that work. Given the  absence of proven solutions many school districts have opted for the  lesser of two evils.
“The effectiveness of this policy will be proven if even just one student makes a choice not to use drugs,” said Foster. “If this new  policy can enhance a culture of zero tolerance for drug use in our community, it’s worth it.”
Thus far, there has been no systematic examination of the effectiveness of drug testing in public schools. Study results have  been mixed and inconclusive. Some participating schools do not have lower reports of drug use, while others have shown a link between drug testing and the prevalence of drug use.
Given the lack of scientific data supporting the effectiveness of drug testing, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has taken a  strong position that student drug testing is not recommended.
Most experts do agree that nurturing a culture of trust between students and adults is fundamental to reducing drug use in public schools.
Himes worries that the policy adopted by the Manchester district will erode the student trust.
“We’re going to drug test them because we don’t believe they’re not doing drugs because they’re so prevalent out there,” he said. “I believe you trust a kid, and when they mess up  you offer advice, you love them, you hug them, and ask them what’s  wrong, what can we do for you, what’s the problem? I don’t feel like  this policy does that.”
Himes says he believes the money used for drug testing would have  been better spent on drug prevention measures.
“We never talked about cost during our discussions,” he said. “I was in favor of hiring a counselor with this money. If a student has a  drug problem they can talk to a counselor in confidence, they can ask  for help and advice. Instead we adopted a policy that says we’re going to test you, we’re going to suspend you for two games, and we’re going  to tell you where you can go for help, but we can’t make you go. I  feel like we’ve done nothing to help the kids by adopting this policy.  All we’ve done is said gotcha.”
The program instituted by the MLSD board requires that students in grades 7 through 12 who participate in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities be subject to random, suspicion-less drug  testing.
Extra-curricular activities include interscholastic sports such  as football, baseball, cross-county, volleyball, cheerleading, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Academic Team, school musicals, and  Color Guard. Co-Curricular activities include (but are not limited to) marching band, Future Farmers of America, and Choir.
Himes argues that targeting these groups is unfair. “Sometimes the extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are the only things that keep a kid in school and achieving,” he said. “And they’re also the kids who are least likely to be using drugs anyway.”
The testing may also include students not participating in  extra-curricular or co-curricular activities who voluntarily, and in  cooperation with their parents, guardians, or custodians, have chosen  to be included in the testing program.
The drug panel test includes (but is not limited to) alcohol,  marijuana, amphetamines, Methadone, Methaqualone, barbiturates,  benzodiazepines, opiates, cocaine, and Propophene (Darvon).
Students testing positive will not be suspended or expelled from  school, nor will they be penalized academically, and any co-curricular  activity missed by a student testing positive will be replaced by learning assignments so overall grade average is not effected.
Further, the results of drug tests will not be documented in any student’s academic record, and information regarding the results of drug tests will not be disclosed to criminal or juvenile authorities  without legal compulsion by subpoena or other legal process.
The lack of documentation and protection from future disclosure doesn’t change Himes’ concerns about students in the district.
“For kids in Manchester, with our demographics, the school is the  best place they’re going to be all day,” he says. “For a lot of them it’s the only food they’ll get all day. And now if feels to me like we’re a penal system.”

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