Auburn City School Board passes controversial substance abuse po - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn City School Board passes controversial substance abuse policy

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

The Auburn City School board unanimously voted in favor of the proposed extracurricular substance abuse policy on Tuesday. 

Students in grades seven through 12 who participate in any competitive extracurricular activities will now be subject to mandatory random drug and alcohol testing.

"This policy is a step forward in my mind in assisting families and children, not to catch them, not to get them in trouble, not to harm them, but because we love them," explains Auburn City School Board Vice President Tracie West.

Before the vote, several parents voiced their concerns about the policy saying this program is invasive, expensive, and ineffective.

"To create a climate that polices instead of teaches, to presume guilt until prevent innocent, to take away extracurriculars from a struggling student that needs support, these are elements that can only make the problems worse," says ACS parent Daisy Griffin.

"Services, support for students in need, that's where we need to focus our efforts, not on an ineffective program that relies on fear," explains concerned parent, Bliss Bailey.

Auburn Police Chief, Paul Register, came before the board Tuesday both as a law enforcement official and parent to express his support for the random drug testing.

"Allowing a child the opportunity to say to another student I don't want to get caught, I don't want to take those drugs is absolutely a deterrent," says Register.

There are roughly 3,500 students who participate in competitive activities and the testing will cost the school system an additional $15,000 each year.

"If that small amount of money only assist one family in addressing issues that may save one child's life, I am willing to allocate those funds," explains Superintendent Dr. Karen DeLano.

A copy of the revised policy can be found at www.auburnschools.org.

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