County school drug testing could include band, choir

Chorus and band students in Shelby County Schools could be subject to drug testing.

Upon the recommendation of Superintendent Evan Major, the Shelby County Board of Education approved a revised Student Competitive Extracurricular Activities Drug Testing Program Policy at its July 11 meeting.

Donna Dickson, student services supervisor for the board, said in the past, only cheerleaders and athletes were subject to drug testing. She said the revised policy adds chorus and band students to those eligible in response to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer.

In a 5-4 ruling on June 27 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld random drug testing of students involved in competitive extracurricular activities. The court expanded the scope of the students who could be tested from athletes to all students engaged in &uot;competitive extracurricular activities.&uot;

In the decision, according to Dickson, the examples used by the U.S. Supreme Court of competitive extracurricular activities were &uot;academic team(s), Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, band, choir, pom-pom, cheerleading and athletics.&uot;

She pointed out, however, that although the board is pursing the possibility of testing all band and choir groups as well as athletes and cheerleaders, it is not certain.

According to the revised policy, the board &uot;reserves the right to require any student desiring to participate in competitive extracurricular activities to submit to drug tests at any time prior to, during, or following a competitive extracurricular activities event, practice, competition, or at any other time while under the supervision of the school system.&uot;

The board also has the &uot;right to conduct random unannounced drug screenings&uot; of students participating in competitive extracurricular activities as well as the right to conduct specific drug screening of students &uot;whenever a coach, assistant coach, teacher, sponsor, band director or other school official observes circumstances which provide reasonable suspicion to believe that a student has used alcohol, illegal drugs or otherwise violates the substance abuse policy.&uot;

It is the stated objective of the policy that &uot;all students who wish to participate in competitive extracurricular activities be given the opportunity to do so in a safe, drug-free environment and that all students participating in extracurricular activities, while under the supervision of the school system, be completely free from the effects of alcohol and/or the presence of illegal or controlled substances.&uot;

Absent from the meeting at which the policy was revised was board member Allen E. Rice.

The board also approved revisions of

School Admission and Transfer and Withdrawal policies.

In another matter, the board approved items to be donated, sold and loaned to the Walker County Board of Education due to a fire at Carbon Hill High School.

Major said items for Walker County were pulled from an auction.

The board approved change orders to:

Eighteen Oaks Inc. of Lincoln for an additional $46,352 to install new and re-work existing metal roofing at Thompson Intermediate School.

Adams Design Associates Inc. for a $630 reduction in the landscape sprinkler allowance and an increase of $1,133 to move the irrigation tie-in point from the east end of Building A to the north side of Building B and to change the connection from a one-inch supply line to a two-inch supply line

for Oak Mountain Middle School.

Small construction contracts were approved in the amount of $44,179 for the renovation of boys and girls locker rooms at Montevallo High School and in the amount of $21,858 for concrete and masonry work at the MHS press box. Both contracts were awarded to Eighteen Oaks Inc.

The girls locker room is to be completed by the start of the school year.

In other matters, the board:

Approved a revised salary schedule for Computer Network Specialist.

Accepted 21 resignations.

Approved 28 changes in status.

Approved nine leaves of absence.

Approved 13 new non-certificate employees.

Approved five new (local) employees.

Approved 71 new certificate employees.

Approved two new summer school employees.

Approved payment of David Dixon at the daily rate for acting principal from May 3 through July 25.

Approved the non-renewal of three probationary non-certified employees.

Approved the bid of Ernest McCarty Ford for eight Ford Taurus or Sable driver education vehicles.

Approved bids from A-Plus Vending, Buffalo Rock and Coca-Cola for various beverage items.

Approved the bid of Auto-Chlor for chemicals.

Approved the bids of Dixie Store fixtures, Bresco and Goodwin Brothers Inc. for various large equipment.

Approved a grease removal bid extension to Birmingham Hide & Tallow Co.

Approved administrative authority to award a lowest bid for ceiling tile