Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – The Alcorn County school district earlier this week approved a revised random drug testing policy for its students.
The policy applies to all students who participate in activities of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, including band, vocal, choral, cheerleader/dance and athletics.
“We want to get away from punishment and make sure more than punishing the young person there’s got to be some avenues for some help,” said Assistant Superintendent Ritchie Williams.
Williams, working with district principals who have experience as coaches, consulted with the independent drug testing agency that the district uses – the same one used by most area school districts – and also incorporated some elements from various policies from around the region and the nation.
“I read a lot of different policies and talked a lot with the drug testing agency, and we’ve got to make sure the students understand how this will adversely affect them in the future,” Williams said.
The district provides a randomly generated list of students involved in activities to the drug testing agency, including students in activities that are in season and not in season.
Some key policy changes are: After a first offense the student will be suspended for 30 calendar days; second offense, 60 calendar days; third offense, a calendar year; fourth offense, indefinite suspension and barred from school events and activities.
Also, mandatory counseling will be required after each offense at the student’s expense.
Any additional offense after the first could result in the student being placed at the district’s alternative school for a calendar year on the recommendation of the principal.
Students and their parents or guardians will be provided with copies of the policy and must sign an agreement before being allowed to participate in an activity.
“I have two kids myself who will fall under this policy, and I thought about myself as a parent when we were reviewing this policy,” Williams said.