Board Drops Consideration of Mandatory Drug-Testing

Article excerpt

The Pattonville School Board, which has been considering a mandatory drug-testing program for athletes, cheerleaders and band members, has decided to keep the current voluntary drug-testing program for this school year.

The board considered having all athletes submit to mandatory drug tests although parents could choose not to have their children tested. The board was not sure how this program would have worked and also discussed whether required drug tests violated the Fourth Amendment's protection from illegal searches.

A survey of 320 parents of students at Pattonville High School showed that 31 percent favored expanding the drug-testing program, 30 percent preferred continuing the current program, 33 percent chose either option and 6 percent said they did not favor any testing. The district's lawyer said that expanding the drug-testing program would be legal, but board member Robert Drummond strongly disagreed with that opinion. "This would be a very serious problem," said Drummond. "You can't take a test without a release form. I thought we were headed in that direction (of violating the Fourth Amendment), and I'm glad we're not going there now." Superintendent Roger Clough recommended that the proposal not be discussed again soon. "With something like this, you need to see if it would help our effectiveness right now, and when that's not there, you have to set it aside," he said. Clough said he would strengthen the 22 drug-prevention programs the school offers. …