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Canfield administrators explain drug testing policy to parents
August 7, 2019

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The Canfield Local Schools administrative team held a special meeting for parents and residents to come and learn about the district's new drug testing policy. The meeting was held on Aug. 1.

Canfield Superintendent Alex Geordan opened the meeting and explained how the district got to this point. He said it actually started over six years ago in a strategic planning session. The strategic planning committee made up of board members, administrators, staff, parents and community members wanted to do something about substance abuse prevention and intervention. Out of that a drug and alcohol sub committee was formed and came up with the drug testing policy.

Geordan said the district can test students taking part in school-sponsored athletics, marching band and those seeking a parking permit to be able to drive to school.

"We are not allowed to test everyone," he said.

He said the goal is to develop a truly drug-free school environment. For students driving to school, participating in sports and taking part in marching band there is a responsibility to be part of a safe environment.

Attending the special meeting were representatives from On Demand, the company from Austintown that was hired to handle the program. Megan Wine and Ruth Bowdish helped explain some of the programs particulars.

Bowdish said the organization has both male and female agents so the testing can be done with same gender. Urine samples are collected and sent back to the On Demand labs for testing.

Drugs that will be tested for include THC, cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates, PCP, Ecstasy, 6 AM (heroin), barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, propoxyphene, Oxycodone, and nicotine.

"These are the things that will show up in the test," said Principal Michael Maldovan.

"When the national media talks about e-cigarettes, it's a problem," Geordan said. "That is why we are testing for nicotine."

As for test dates, Aug. 7 was set aside for marching band, fall sports, and football. Aug. 8 is set for students seeking a parking pass.

If the students gives a good sample and the test is negative for any of the listed drugs, he or she just continues their sport, band or parking privilege. If the test comes back positive, then the parents receive the results as well as the Superintendent and building administrator.

If a test is positive, the results are immediately given to the parents and a meeting is arranged with the principal and parents so the student's rights are clearly known. If they are driving to school, those privileges are suspended and any athletics and marching band students testing positive would have to sit out at least 20 percent of the season.

Bowdish said any prescription drugs that may show in the test would not be counted if the doctor or parent provided proof the students is taking the medication for a reason. In that case (proof) the test would be marked as a negative.

There are a lot of details to the policy and anyone seeking more information can visit the school website at www.canfield.access-k12.org and view drug testing policy. The entire policy is on the site.

As for cost of the policy, Geordan said the district last year had 560 student drivers parking at the school. For years the fee for the parking pass was $10. It was raised for this school year to $20.

"The cost will go up to $20 to help offset the cost of testing," Geordan said.

The actual cost pertest is $12.50. Of that amount, the $.50 is for the nicotine test.

One other piece to this new policy is the opt-in section. Parents can opt-in and have their child tested even if he or she does not drive or is not in sports or marching band. All they need do is fill out a form.

Geordan did say the goal is the safety and welfare of the students. He said getting them help to get off dangerous drugs can save a life, and that would make the whole program worth while.

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