By Meg Dedyne
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
Myra Ford, policy committee chair for the Lansing School District Board of Education called the policy committee meeting to order on Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. Then all talk turned to drugs – drug tests in Lansing schools that is.
One of the biggest items on the meeting agenda was the policy of drug tests for student-athletes in the Lansing School District.
There are two options to the policy, according to the board.
Option one is that students enrolled in a sport have to take a drug test prior to their season and this drug test is the responsibility of the parents to administer. Option two is that the school may administer random drug tests at any time they see fit and this would be the financial responsibility of the schools, according to the policies obtained by the board.
According to the board, they are leaning toward option one.
Rachel Lewis, the policy committee vice president, said that she thinks it is important to make sure student athletes and students in general are healthy.
“Right now students have to sign a waiver that says they don’t participate in drug use,” Lewis said. “I want students to submit a report that they are healthy and drug free.”
The board is continuing to plan on changing the policy to option one but wants to do more research before it is finalized, according to Lewis.
According to Deputy Superintendent Mark Coscarella, he is going to research the cost for this from the health department and figure out how costly it will be for families.
“Before we start requiring drug tests, I want to see what the cost will be for parents,” Coscarella said.
Anna Petersen, a teacher in the Lansing School District is also concerned about the price for parents.
“I definitely think that it is important to make sure students are drug free and healthy, but there are a lot of things parents have to purchase for their students these days,” Petersen said. “I am wondering why we couldn’t continue with the current policy and if some parents would be able to administer the test, if it was expensive.”
Petersen said extra educational or sports-related expenses would be a financial burden for many families.
“This would be a big change to our school,” said Susan Cheadle-Holt, principal of Everett High School in Lansing. “My concern is the kind of drugs we are looking for. The policy would have to be carefully spelled out.”
Cheadle-Holt said that they are many kids in the school that play sports and are on medications. It would be a complicated situation if the concern was recreational drugs or something of the sort, because a lot of kids are on medications for legitimate reasons.
“I don’t want this to be another financial obstacle for kids either,” Cheadle-Holt said. “The cost of equipment and other expenses could already be a deterrent and the students that really need to be involved in sports could be turned away.”
In another issue, a lot of the policies the committee is rewriting need further approval, according to Ford.
“We are doing an entire policy rewrite, so we are updating everything,” said Kari Radigan, the committee secretary. “During the meeting we will be going through the policies one by one.”
In other business, the committee discussed that physicals are offered free for students that need them and therefore this should cover their medical history.
“One concern I have is parents reporting past or current health problems when their child is enrolled in a sport,” Ford said. “Physicals are required, but I am worried student athletes won’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford it.”