257 approves random drug testing 257

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February 28, 2017 - 12:00 AM

After extended discussion of the matter at a previous meeting, the USD 257 board of education voted on Monday to institute a random drug testing policy at Iola High School. Any student hoping to participate in school activities — athletics, dances, special events — is required to register for the program and obtain the written consent of a parent or guardian. “The main purpose [of this program],” said Assistant Principal Scott Crenshaw, “is not meant to be punitive by any means — it doesn’t lead to any sort of academic punishment at all. … The idea here is prevention.” A first positive test result would lead to a two-week suspension from school activities. A second offense would force the student from practice or competition at any district event for 30 days, during which time attendance in a drug education/treatment program would be “strongly encouraged.” A third offense would trigger a 365-day ban from all district activities. Opinions were mixed regarding the efficacy and/or desirability of a hair sample test versus a urinalysis, with the board agreeing to defer to school administrators questions of implementation. The vote to adopt the policy proposed by Crenshaw was unanimous (member Darrel Catron was absent from Monday’s meeting).
Again returning to a topic dilated upon last meeting, the board voted to approve a “virtual driver’s education” program facilitated by the Greenbush Learning Center. The upgrade — which arrives with no new costs to the district — provides fresh online study material for the in-class portion of the program and a certified driver’s education instructor for the in-car driving half, among a host of other improvements.
High School counselor Melissa Stiffler walked the board through the district’s career-planning software, Career Cruising (https://public.careercruising.com), which provides students with skills assessment tests, career advice, college data, plans of study and more.
Thrive Allen County program director Damaris Kunkler pointed to three presidential busts — Jefferson, Lincoln and McKinley — which stared up at the board unblinkingly from a table in the district conference room. These busts, explained Kunkler, were gifts to the district’s three elementary schools from an anonymous donor. In celebration of the gift, explained Kunkler, Thrive is sponsoring a one-page essay contest at each of the schools. Winners will be awarded $50 and will have their essay framed and displayed alongside the bust.
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of kindergarten teacher Jessy Coffield. It approved the hiring of Doug Kerr as the high school’s assistant track coach, Amanda Strickler as ag/FFA instructor, Jason Bates as elementary PE teacher and Regena Lance as 7th and 8th grade computer apps instructor.

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