Drug policies undergoing change at local schools

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two schools in different counties are moving forward with drug testing policies.

Austintown Local Schools have screened their student-athletes since the 1990s, but now new policies approved by the school board are being put into place.  Not only are students participating in testing for illegal drug and alcohol use, but so are prospective employees.

Austintown Local School District Superintendent Vincent Colaluca wants to expand this program to include any child taking part in after school activities.

“One of the things is that we feel we need to stay proactive and continue to try and stay ahead of the curve and educate our students, this is not just a school thing, it’s a society piece,” said Colaluca.

Meanwhile, in Columbiana County, students at Crestview Local Schools are proposing a testing policy that not only includes illegal drugs, but steroids as well.

Under the policy, Crestview kids from the middle and high school grades would be randomly selected in groups of five to be tested – one of which would also be screened for steroid use.  It would apply to all students participating in extracurricular activities and those who want to drive to school. Parents of children who don’t participate in after-school programs can opt-in for the tests.

“Our mission statement says that we are here to empower students to be successful in their community,” said Superintendent John Dilling. “I think any time we talk about students, we want to make sure we’ve given them all the tools and skills necessary to be successful.”

Student Board Representative Preston Straney said getting his peers behind the drug testing policy wasn’t difficult. Most agreed it was the best approach.

“It puts us all on an even playing field, and it keeps everybody honest,” said Straney. “I think it keeps us safe as students and as a student body.”

The proposal goes before the board in March for a first reading. If approved in April, the policy would take effect next year.

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