SC school district ‘exploring’ randomly drug testing middle, high school students

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – At Monday night’s Horry County School board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey said the district is “exploring” the idea of randomly drug testing students.

Staff attorney for the district, Kenny Generette, said he is going to be looking into the proposal over the next several months and will form a committee comprised of staff from several departments including athletics, health and safety services and student affairs.

There was a lot of talk about athletes and students who drive but chairman Joe DeFeo said right now this wouldn’t be targeted at just athletes, but could include students in high schools and possibly middle schools.

“It’s a problem,” DeFeo said about the drug epidemic around the country. “I don’t think we can hide our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not a problem here.”

DeFeo said the idea came from the administration and is still in the very early phases. When asked about consequences if a student failed a drug test, DeFeo said he would not be in favor of immediate suspension.

“It’s not a matter of suspending the child from school,” he added. “It is a matter of, yes they probably can no longer play sports at that given time. Hopefully what we would do is provide counseling and help for the family to work through the situation.”

DeFeo isn’t sure how much the tests would cost but said the district would pay for them.

Some South Carolina districts with random drug testing policies including Lexington 1, Anderson 5 and Beaufort, and Rock Hill is also exploring the idea according to spokeswoman, Lisa Bourcier.

If the policy were to be implemented it would not be until the 2018-2019 school year. Generette said the district welcomes input from parents.

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