School Board, Administrators Hope To Set Example With Drug Testing
By Mike Perleberg
Lawrenceburg Community Schools administrators and school board members wait their turn to take a voluntary drug test Thursday, August 17. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – When schools implement random drug testing programs for students, many citizens ask why school staff aren’t also tested.
The question came up during a recent meeting of the Lawrenceburg Community Schools Board of Trustees. The school board members agreed that, yes, they and administrators should be tested.
“Basically, what we are looking to do for everybody is just set a precedent and set a good example. Hopefully others follow,” says Bryan Johnson, board president.
School board members and administrators including principals, assistant principals, and athletic directors voluntarily took their drug tests Thursday morning. They took turns providing their samples for testing in a trailer set up at the school district’s transportation garage.
Earlier this summer, the board moved to tighten the district’s random drug testing policy for high and middle school students participating in extracurriculars or who drive themselves to school. The tougher policy requires students who fail a test to receive in-school counseling and provide a clean test before they can rejoin their team or club.
While Thursday’s testing was voluntary, Johnson said three or four board members and administrators will be randomly chosen for testing each time there is a round of testing for students. The adult testing was put in place long-term.
Results of the administrator and board member drug tests will not be shared publicly due to privacy laws. Students’ test results are only shared with administrators and their parents.
While students can be punished if their test indicates the presence of alcohol or tobacco in their system, the adults cannot. Superintendent Karl Galey says that’s because alcohol and tobacco are not illegal for adults to use, but he adds that staff who are found to be under the influence of alcohol while on the job can be punished. The testing panel will screen board members and administrators for eight illegal substances which students are also tested for.
A clear set of consequences for administrators or board members who might fail a drug test has not been laid out. Galey says a violator might be expected to take a leave of absence.
Lawrenceburg teachers are not subject to the random testing at this time. Johnson says that’s being explored, but would need to be negotiated with the district’s teachers union.
“It would be nice to get the teachers to voluntarily accept the challenge as well,” says Johnson.
Galey and Johnson were not aware of any other public school corporations in the area who have taken this step.