Anderson County Drug Testing

DRUG TESTING

It was pretty cool watching the Alcoa/Maryville football game on ESPN2 yesterday. And if those schools had the same policy as Anderson County High School, I wondered if both teams would still be such powerful schools.

Why, because a new policy is requiring Anderson County high school students to submit to random drug screens if they're involved in any extracurricular school activities, like football.

Some of the parents are refusing to sign a consent form authorizing random drug screens for their children.

Which means their child won't be able to participate in a large variety of school-sponsored events.

One parent, a registered nurse, describes herself as "a concerned mother wanting to protect children from that slippery slope that threatens to remove all of their rights and treat them like cattle going to slaughter."

School Director Larry Foster says the policy, approved last year by the school board, is "right on target and absolutely complies with state guidelines."

Allowed by state law, the policy has been implemented in several school districts.

Wilson County has such guidelines. Putnam County has also implemented it, records show.

The Anderson County policy was put in effect, it states, "due to the severity of the drug use problem, both locally and throughout the state."

Parents of students in band, cheerleading, academic clubs and interscholastic activities, among several other activities, must consent to have their children screened at random.

Students who drive to those events and park on campus for those activities would also be subject to such screens, according to the consent form.

Refusal to submit to a random drug screen "will be considered the same as a positive drug test result," the form states.

Ken Miller said several parents expressed worries that a refusal to sign the consent form would "mark their kids" as suspected drug or alcohol users.

Anderson County students who test positive in a random drug screen could be subjected to counseling, additional screenings at the parents' expense and/or a suspension from participating in all school-sponsored extracurricular activities outside school hours for at least 21 days.