South Callaway School Board mulls tobacco, alcohol and drug policy

The South Callaway School Board discussed options for a new drug, alcohol and tobacco policy at its meeting Wednesday night.

Students participating in athletics and other extra curricular activities are currently withheld from games or activities based on calendar days, but the board is assessing how to move forward with a penalization based on percentage.

Current policy states a first offense results in a 30-calendar day suspension, but can be reduced to 15 if the students choses to participate in a counseling program. A student will face a 45-day suspension on the second offense, and for the third offense, the punishment carries a weight of 365 calendar days.

During discussion, the board mulled making the percentage of games/activities missed between 20-30 percent for the first offense, 40-50 percent for the second offense and 365 calendar days for a third offense.

Superintendent Kevin Hillman said following a percentage is more consistent student to student. Hillman said that based on timing in a sports season, athletes who commit the same offense could miss a different amount of games in the current policy, but a percentage would ensure the suspension is the same.

It was also proposed at the meeting for the offenses to carry with a student from year to year.

The board also discussed the definition of “activity” and student-athletes should be suspended from practices in addition to games.

Athletic Director Tony Brandt said he felt that keeping the student-athletes at practice would encourage them to continue in a sport and not follow a path of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

That detail has yet to be solidified.

“I don’t think we’re running a program where we want to catch kids. We want to help (students) …” Brent Woods, board member, said.

There was also uncertainty if the policy should apply to students if they are caught with a substance or alcohol outside of campus. Law enforcement action could also signal a suspension.

While there are still questions surrounding the policy, the board (with the exception of Heidi Powers and Kit Glover who were absent) agreed verbally that South Callaway should move from a four-panel drug test to a 12-panel drug test and increase its testing of K2, a synthetic marijuana drug.

Hillman said many schools have moved to the 12-panel test because of its expanded coverage. The 12-panel test includes the drugs screened in a four-panel test as well as prescription drugs, oxycodone and pain pills.

He added that more testing of K2 is a reflection of “an increased abuse” in the area and state.

The board plans to have the policy included in the new student handbook for the 2014-2015 academic year.

In other news, Don Bolinger, ATG Sports president of construction services, updated the board on the football stadium. He said rain has delayed the project some, but the dirt excavation, concrete, sidewalks and drainage are complete. He said 27 inches of rain per hour is drained through the system. Bolinger added he plans for the project to be finished by the start of the school year.

He told the Fulton Sun that a turf field is economical as a grass field can cost up to $40,000 per year in maintenance. The turf will last between 12-15 years and the field infrastructure has a life span of up to 50 years, Bolinger said.

Insurance rates for those new to the school-wide iPads were set by the board at $40 for an individual student and $80 per family with two or more children. Those renewing their iPads will have insurance costs at $15 per student and $30 per family with two or more children.

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