BOE approves drug testing plan

By Elise Franco


The board of education has approved a plan to implement parent-approved, voluntary drug testing.

The five-member school board voted 5-0 during its Monday meeting in favor of the new policy, and board President Kenneth Beraduce said the testing will begin for high-school students only in the 2011-12 school year.

“We feel like it’s going to be positive moving forward with the goal of helping kids,” he said. “We’re not on a search-and-find mission.”

Parents may choose to pay $22 to have their student tested at school randomly throughout the year by WorkMed. The results would be sent directly to the parent. Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said the school would not know the results, and no punishment would be handed out unless the parent decided to reveal the results. Then the school would take punitive action.

If a student is caught using drugs, first offense is a 10-day suspension. If the student seeks drug treatment, the suspension can be knocked down to five days, Lazzeri said.

Student athletes are barred from 20 percent of the season’s games if they are caught using drugs. Repeat offenders would never be allowed to play sports again.

Beraduce said the board supports the policy because of how accessible drugs can be.

“Lets be honest, drugs are everywhere,” he said. “We’re giving parents another avenue to help their kids with any issues that are outstanding.”

Leigh Ann Fedor of Boardman said she has two children in the district — one a 16-year-old son who attends high school. She said she’s in favor of the policy.

“I really thinks it’s a nice service to offer ... It’s a great idea,” she said. “I will absolutely participate. Not that I have worries about my son, but you never know.”

Beraduce said he hasn’t heard any other feedback from parents yet, so he’s waiting to see how the policy works.

“I’m anxious to see how much involvement we get,” he said. “If we help even one kid it’s worth it.”