Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

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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