The Davis County School District is considering a new rule for its policy manual to go into effect this year. The title of this new rule is 5S-204 Random Drug Testing for Students Participating in Extracurricular Activities. The effect of this policy will be to create a targeted class of high school students who are required to abrogate their civil liberties in exchange for the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. For some of these students, those activities will help them pay for college through scholarships offered in the area of sports or leadership in which they have been involved. If the new rule is added to the DSD handbook, the students and their parents will have to choose to either voluntarily suspend their right to privacy, or give up the opportunity to participate in a sport or be in a leadership position. The loud and clear message from the District to the families is this: If you want to be a student athlete or leader, you cannot be trusted to do the right thing on your own, but must be continually reminded that a superior power always has the right to invade your personal privacy and hold you hostage to random drug testing.
What has not been addressed by DSD on their website is the question of what prompted this new policy. As far as I have been able to surmise, there is no need for it. In the current DSD Policy Manual, under 5S-100, there is clear and comprehensive language already in place regarding the use of illegal substances in school. Why the added policy, if there is already one that applies to all students, regardless of their affiliation with any particular activity?
With these very thorough and specific policies in place, why is the school district now adding a redundant policy, which will ultimately be expensive (drug testing labs aren’t cheap), time-consuming, and discriminatory? In addition to this, it is concerning that the consent form states that the student can be tested at any time during the year Р even in the off-season for the sport in which he or she may be participating. Also, any one student could be tested up to six times in a month.
The DSD has overstepped appropriate bounds with this proposal. The effect will be negative and costly in terms of student/family morale as well as possible lawsuits. The vote will be on April 16, so we have just under a month to respond as a community. I strongly urge parents within our school district to oppose this policy either in writing or by attending the school board meeting on April 16. To read the proposed change, visit the DSD homepage at davis.k12.ut.us. Scroll down under “latest news” and follow the link to the proposed policy.