Education

Rock Hill schools drop idea for random drug testing of student-athletes, drivers

Rock Hill Keystone officials share dangers of drugs in schools

Drug and alcohol companies are getting creative in their efforts to target young users. More students are using Marijuana and prescription pills, but alcohol remains the number one drug abused by students.
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Drug and alcohol companies are getting creative in their efforts to target young users. More students are using Marijuana and prescription pills, but alcohol remains the number one drug abused by students.

The Rock Hill school district is no longer considering a policy for random drug testing among student-athletes.

The school board decided Monday not to move forward with reviewing a policy, said Jim Vining, board chair. He said budget concerns and a lack of supportive feedback were reasons behind the board's decision.

"There was not overwhelming support to do this in a tight budget year," Vining said.

The school district would have paid for the tests, an estimated cost of about $50,000 to $60,000 a year, and this did not include money for students who did not have ability to pay for counseling associated with the program, Vining said.

The Rock Hill school district began considering a random drug testing policy last year. Bill Warren, athletics director at Rock Hill High School, proposed a pilot drug testing program to the school board.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal to test students participating in competitive extracurricular activities, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Testing all students is not legal.

The district surveyed students and parents at Rock Hill, South Pointe and Northwestern high schools on the proposal.

Under the proposal, students who tested positive for drug use would be suspended from sports temporarily, but provided counseling, Warren said.

Testing programs are typically used as a deterrent from drug use, according to Keystone Substance Abuse Services.

The Clover school district introduced a drug testing policy seven years ago that tests student-athletes for the illegal use of drugs and performance-enhancing substances.

Last March, Keystone officials shared with the Rock Hill school board information on middle and high school student drug and alcohol use.

If passed, the drug testing policy would have started with fall sports in 2018. The district was also considering requiring student drivers to be subject to random drug testing as a condition of their driving and parking privileges on campus.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082
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