On Monday, the District 8 School Board took time to respond to questions raised during last week’s hearing about the implementing a random drug testing policy for students at Fairbury Jr./Sr. High School, after which they approved the policy, which will be implemented beginning on August 7.
Superintendent Stephen Grizzle explained that the policy will only affect students involved in extracurricular activities and will be treated as a requirement to participate in the activities. Parents will be required to submit a consent form to the school either at the beginning of the year or prior to participating in the sport or activity.
According to Grizzle, students who have submitted consent forms will be entered into the drug-testing pool, where they will be eligible to be tested for illicit drugs. Students will remain in that pool for 365 days.
“The testing window will begin with the official beginnings of NSAA activities begin,” said Grizzle. “So, August 7 is when we would start the process of testing, and it would go through the last NSAA event, which is state track. Once the families turn in the consent form, that’s when the 365 days starts. The window doesn’t start until you turn in your form, so if you’re somebody that’s going to be involved in a lot of things, you’re most likely going to turn in your form at the beginning of the process, and that’s when your 365 starts.
“If you’re someone who doesn’t think they’re going to participate in anything, then you’re not going to turn in your sheet, so that window doesn’t start,” Grizzle continued. “Theoretically, if you’re a one sport person, or one activity person, and you don’t turn in the information until the spring, you’re not going to be tested until the spring. Then next fall, you’re still in the pool.”
Students who withdraw their consent will not be allowed to participate in activities for 365 days. Grizzle explained that having that stipulation will force students to think hard about their choices before withdrawing their consent.
The policy allows for 10 percent of the population of active students to be tested each month. After the board approved the policy, the board agreed to contract with the company Sport Safe to conduct the tests at the cost of $29 per test.
Also during the meeting the board agreed to table the appointment of a new Board of Education Member to fill the vacancy left by Alan Stall. They received four applications to fill the position, and will conduct interviews before the August meeting.