Kansas district starts random drug testing

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2002

CONWAY, Ark. -- The first 40 students in the Conway School District were randomly tested for drugs last Wednesday, following the board of education's vote this summer to approve random testing of students in extracurricular activities in grades seven through 12.

All the students were "cooperative," said Gerald Harrison, director of secondary education.

In August, the board voted 4-3 for the drug tests after the issue was hotly debated at board meetings this summer. The issue had been put on hold for a year until the Supreme Court ruled it was legal.

Four parents in the district filed a lawsuit in October to stop the drug testing, but Conway Superintendent James Simmons said then the drug testing would go ahead as planned until the district was told otherwise. The parents believe the policy violates the Arkansas Constitution, their children's "right to privacy against intrusion," and also contend the policy is vague.

The district has responded to the lawsuit, maintaining that drug testing does not violate any laws and cannot be shown to cause irreparable harm to students.

The school district has not heard any more from the lawsuit, Harrison said last week.

Twenty students each at Conway High School-West and Conway High School-East were tested. The testing started at 8:30 a.m. at Conway High School-West, which includes students in 11th and 12th grades. Students were called out of class with a phone call to each classroom, not by intercom. Testing took about two hours, Harrison said, a little longer than expected.

Testing of ninth- and 10th-graders at Conway High School-East began after the lunch periods and took approximately one hour.

Testing also will be done at Carl Stuart and Bob Courtway middle schools.



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