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    Kingsport Board of Education passes new student drug testing policy

    By Murry Lee,

    2024-06-12

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    KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Kingsport Board of Education reviewed and passed a new policy on random student drug testing Tuesday night.

    School board members unanimously approved the new policy on its second reading.

    The policy states that all high school students who are involved in voluntary extracurricular activities will be subject to random and unannounced drug tests. Students as well as their parents or guardians will be informed of the new policy and will be required to sign consent to drug testing, as well as a release of information.

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    The policy defined voluntary extracurriculars as any activity that is not part of the regular curriculum and does not carry any academic credit. As such, students who participate in athletics, competitive band, clubs, cheerleading and spirit squads, and student leadership positions will be subject to random drug tests.

    Before a drug test can be conducted, four conditions must be met. Those conditions, as provided by the school district, can be read below:

    • The test will yield evidence of the violation of school policy or will establish that a student either was impaired due to drug use or did not use drugs.
    • The test is in pursuit of legitimate interests of the school in maintaining order, discipline, safety, supervision and education of students.
    • The test is not conducted for the sole purpose of discovering evidence to be used in a criminal prosecution.
    • Tests shall be conducted in the presence of a witness. Persons who shall act as witnesses shall be a school administrator or designee.

    If a student tests positive for drug use after a random test, they will not be suspended or expelled solely because of the test result.

    The policy states the superintendent of Kingsport City Schools (KCS) will “develop procedures establishing a random process for the selection of students to be tested.” All testing procedures must be approved by the school board.

    KCS Assistant Superintendent Andy True presented the policy for review to the school board, as well as a copy citation of Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-4213 as a supporting document that outlines state law for student drug testing.

    After passing the policy, the board then voted 4-1 to approve regulations and procedures for the policy.

    A presentation of the procedures states students will enter the tested population each school year on the day they submit their written consent to the drug tests. Testing will be done on 10 random school days each year with the days being chosen by the superintendent.

    Twenty students will be randomly selected for testing on each of the 10 testing days. Students selected for the tests will be told in person by a school administrator or employee and then immediately tested.

    If a student is selected for a random drug test and is not in school that day, they will be tested on the next scheduled test date.

    The procedures state parents and guardians will receive written notifications when their student has been tested through the mail and in a notice given to the student.

    Any student who does not provide “a viable testing sample” within the required timeframe or refuses to be tested will be considered a positive test result. The drug tests test for 12 types of substances, including marijuana metabolites and opiates.

    Any student whose drug test ends up with a positive result will be required to attend a mandatory drug and alcohol counseling program that KCS pays for within 30 days of the result.

    On a first positive test result, a student will be suspended from activities for 14 calendar days. That activity suspension goes up to 180 calendar days after a second positive result. If a student tests positive a third time, they will be suspended from activities for 365 days.

    Four positive drug tests will result in a student being suspended from activities for the remainder of their high school career.

    The policy goes into effect in the upcoming 2024-25 school year.

    The entire policy and its procedures can be read online by clicking here and scrolling down to the “BUSINESS ITEMS” section of the meeting agenda.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WJHL | Tri-Cities News & Weather.

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