Struthers implements drug testing for athletes

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The Struthers Board of Education on Tuesday night passed a drug testing policy for its student athletes, which will take effect at the beginning of the school year.

Any student in grades 7 through 12 wishing to participate in athletics or cheerleading must now submit to a drug test. The cost is $20 for the first sport and $10 for the second, with a cap of $30 per athlete. Athletes will face mandatory testing once per year and random tests thereafter.

“This is for the best interest of the kids of our school system,” said Struthers Board of Education President Ronald Carcelli.

Superintendent Joseph Nohra said students who refuse to get drug tested will not be allowed to play.

The testing will be handled by Great Lakes Biomedical. Company president Kyle Prueter said the policy is not about catching offenders.

“The main things is, when someone is offered an illegal substance, they have a better opportunity to say ‘no, I get tested. You know I can’t do this,'” Preuter said.

Students who have a drug problem can seek help without penalty from the school, but they must do so before being tested. Testing positive will result in penalties.

The first offense means missing 20 percent of the season. The second results in missing a whole calendar year. The third means denial of athletic privileges for their high school career.

Parents of non-athletes also can opt their kids into the program.

“Any little thing that we can do to try to help our students and our student athletes, we wanna do,” Nohra said.

The plan will not cost the district any money.

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