Blair Oaks board discusses wider drug testing

School may consolidate codes of conduct

Blair Oaks administrators are considering creating a new Student Activity Code of Conduct that would apply equally to all students who participate in extracurricular activities, Superintendent Jim Jones told the school board Tuesday.

Asking students to promise not to use alcohol, drugs or tobacco is a primary goal of any new code.

Jones said students currently sign a patchwork of separate contracts. Students in the National Honor Society might agree to one pledge; football players might sign another.

“We hope to make it consistent across all the organizations and clubs in the district,” he said.

One of the sticking points is that it can be challenging to apply consequences fairly from one activity to the next, he said. “Is missing a single game equivalent to missing a club’s one special function of the year?” Jones asked rhetorically.

Board member Tim Van Ronzelen said he favors asking more students to sign a code of conduct.

“We want to give them every reason to say no to substances that are illegal,” he said.

Board member Matt Fifer said he favors holding more students accountable for their actions. “It seems to be athletes only,” he said.

The board briefly discussed the possibility of expanding the number of students who undergo drug-testing in the district. Jones suggested it might be possible to require any student who wants to park on the campus — which he considers a privilege, not a right — to be tested.

Van Ronzelen, who works as an attorney in Jefferson City, said the district should be cautious about demanding that every student undergo drug testing. He noted that the U.S. District Court is currently considering a case involving Linn State Technical College’s 2011 decision to drug test all of its students.

Based on a U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Judge Nanette Laughrey said in March that drug testing likely should be limited to specific groups of students. A date for her final ruling in the case hasn’t been announced.

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