Shenandoah County Explores Drug Testing for Students

By: Tim Saunders
By: Tim Saunders

Drugs are creating quite a problem in Shenandoah County schools and now officials are taking action, exploring the idea of drug testing. Federal law limits testing to Athletes and Students in Extra Curricular activities, but officials say one of the main reasons for even bringing up the idea was to get people talking about a much larger problem.

"We were getting a number of suspensions and expulsions with drug use in the schools," says Shenandoah County School Board Chair Jim Fitzsimmons. The school board is looking at testing policies in Clarke County and Lynchburg as a basis for their own program. Parent's reactions are mixed.

"I think it's a good idea," says parent Karla Ortts. "But I don't think they should limit it to just athletes, I think everyone should be randomly tested."

"I feel that it's an invasion of privacy," says Tammy Staton. "It's the parent's responsibility whether the kids do drugs or not."

Fitzsimmons says parents will play an important role as they work to stop the drug problem. "We'd like to look at this solution as educational and a relationship with the parents, the community and the students," says Fitzsimmons.

The school board has scheduled a public hearing to get your comments on the idea. That will happen on October 1.


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