No drug testing for student athletes
Board axes mandatory screening for activities amid budget crunch
The board of education for Valdez City Schools tossed out the hot potato topic of mandatory drug testing for athletes and other students that participate in school sanctioned activities.
The move came Monday night during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting.
“Do we want to go forward,” Jacob Jensen, the district’s outgoing superintendent asked during the meeting. “There are many other questions on the drug testing policy” proposal.
The board had tabled discussions on the topic during recent meetings.
“Right now, I’d rather get the budget taken care of,” board member Dan Walker said.
The board is faced with a familiar budget deficit, which is aggravated by increasing operational costs, such as insurance and energy, combined with stagnant or decreasing revenues.
Valdez Star file photo
Bill Comer, Valdez Police Chief, addressed the board of education of Valdez City Schools last December, expressing concerns and recommendations after officials saw an uptick in student misconduct involving alcohol and illicit drug use.
Board member Dr. Kathy Todd, a highly respected member of Alaska’s medical community, had a long tick-list of negatives and unknowns with the proposal, outside of its potentially high costs.
“Yea or nay, I would say nay,” she told the board.
Jensen said other proposed changes to the board’s drug and alcohol policy and how it pertains to athletics and activities are still waiting for board discussion and will be on the board’s agenda in the near future.
In the past, the board had considered increasing penalties for student athletes that are accused of violating the district’s drug and alcohol policies.
The board had decided in late 2012 to abandon proposals to institute random drug testing for the district’s student body as a whole, citing its legal council’s advice that no such proposals had been executed in Alaska. That fact would put Valdez City Schools in the position of potentially defending such a policy against civil lawsuits.