Harrisburg Schools To Drug Test Students

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HARRISBURG - The Harrisburg School administration is looking into adopting a random drug test policy. But the policy will not include all students. Only those who participate in extracurricular activities, or wish to park in the school parking lot, will be required to take a drug test when selected. However, parents can add their students into the program even if he or she is uninvolved in extracurricular activities.

School administrators say the school does not have a drug problem, but decided to start it since other schools in the area are adopting the same policy. Athletic Director Steve Combs says it's just a preventative measure.

"We just want to make sure we're being proactive. We don't have a big drug problem here at school," Combs said.

Some parents and students have voiced opposition, saying the policy invades privacy and makes the students feel mistrusted. Teacher Charlyn Crowley recognizes that not all parents and students are on board.

"The younger kids don't really understand, I think, the whole process," Crowley said. "Some of the older kids are a little bit like, 'You don't trust us?' "

A first offense penalty will be suspension from 20 percent of the games/activities related to the student's team or organization. A second offense penalty will be suspension from 50 percent of games/activities, and a third offense will result in the student forfeiting all privileges of participation. In the case of athletics, they may attend practices or meetings, but will not be allowed to compete. In the case of parking, they will no longer be allowed to park at the school.

The issue will be discussed again at the school board meeting on May 14th, but a member of the committee has said they may make plans to discuss the issue before that meeting. Administrators say the best way for members of the community to share feedback is by contacting the district's administration office at 1000 South Harris Street.