A proposed revision of the Indian Lake High School drug policy will be in place by the opening of school in September. Principal Robert J. Underwood rolled out a new policy at the May school board meeting. The policy, which only affects athletes, will require students to attend a two-week, district approved drug counseling program and present a clean drug screening test before participating in athletic events. Currently, athletes who violate the ban on illegal drugs are suspended from 20 percent of the season in a sport for a first offense, 50 percent for a second offense.
The student and family will be required to pay for the drug program and testing. “The revision will not impact the school’s budget,” said Underwood. A board/administrative committee has researched options such as random drug testing. “We found other districts spent a lot of money and did not find value in the program,” Underwood added.
The revisions were sent back to committee for refinement and will be voted on at the July board meeting. “This is a 365/24 policy,” said the principal, “meaning that the policy covers conduct outside of school as well as in-school.” It does not cover other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities at this time, but once the policy is in place, the committee may look at expansion of the policy. Illegal drugs, not including alcohol, are covered. “We cannot test for alcohol because it doesn’t stay long enough in a student’s system for us to test for it,” according to Underwood.
Underwood praised the Washington Township Police Department for being at the high school several times a week. The proposed policy covers drug use, not drug trafficking; but a police presence helps with problems of drug distribution. Several board members commented that the revisions are a step in the right direction and that continued review of the policy is needed.
Judy Wherry is a regular contributor to this newspaper.