Several parents, students and residents voiced their concerns about Hayden High School's new drug testing policy at Wednesday night's School Board meeting.
A group of students discussed the pros and cons of the policy earlier in the school day and elected two classmates to represent them at the School Board meeting. The policy requires any student who wishes to leave campus during lunch to submit to random drug testing.
The students said that those who participated in the discussion felt the school is going about the issue in the wrong way, and that the school already has policies in place that can be used to handle students who come to school high. They addressed concerns about the accuracy of the tests, and said they think the publicity the issue is receiving is bringing a bad image to the school and the community.
"I'd rather be know as a community that will not accept mediocrity," resident Bill Engle responded to the two boys' comments.
Another group came before the board and announced they had formed the "Parent Support Group," to find a better alternative to curbing drug use in Hayden schools than the new drug testing policy.
"We believe that issues such as drug use and prevention can be accomplished in a positive manner without compromising civil rights and/or student self-esteem," reads the groups mission statement on its Web site: www.haydenpsg.com.
Group member Kelly Hayes suggested students could be helped more effectively if they heard from experts and peers who had been exposed to drugs, and that random drug testing could cause "irreversible damage."
Another parent in the group said drug testing is a violation of the students' civil rights and creates "us versus them" feelings.
In other business:
n In the past, coal trucks operating on Twentymile Road remained sedentary during Hayden's bus route times. This year, though, the coal companies want to keep their trucks moving during those times. The Hayden School Board decided Wednesday night, however, that it did not have enough information about the truck routes, and suspended a vote to support coal trucks operating during bus route times. Board member Brian Hoza said it did not make sense to support the operation of coal hauling because the coal companies have not stated their agendas.
n Hayden High School Athletics Director Kevin Kleck-ler reported that the school could receive money for athletics through corporate sponsorship. Coca-Cola offered to pay the school $5,000 for signing a three-year contract that would make Coca-Cola products the exclusive beverage for vending and concessions in the school, Kleckler said. Pepsi offered $10,000 for a five-year contract.
n Hayden Schools Superintendent Scott Mader reported that the district recently received two grants: one for more than $65,000 to re-carpet the elementary school, and the second for about $8,500 for a new fire alarm system at the elementary school. Both projects would begin next summer, Mader said.
n The School Board accepted the resignation of Transportation Director Darren Zehner.
n The School Board approved to pay the secretaries of all three schools and the administration office $1,200 each annually for year-round maintenance of the School District Web site.
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