BROKEN BOW – The Broken Bow School Board approved its pioneering drug testing policy for students, set to get underway at the outset of the 2022 school year.
The policy, passed at the July 18 meeting, requires students involved in extracurricular activities to enter a pool for random drug testing. The policy applies to all students, grades 6-12.
Broken Bow Public Schools Superintendent Darren Tobey assures students and parents that because of how the policy and testing is structured, it does not target specific extracurricular activities or grades.
“It is for all activities, not just sports,” Tobey said, “And the selection of who will be tested is handled by a third party, outside the school district, so the school has no say in who specifically will get tested.”
As far as specific substances, the policy dictates that students will be tested for: “any substance considered illegal according to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, any substance controlled by the Food and Drug Administration unless prescribed by medical practitioner so authorized,” alcohol for students under 21, and tobacco or “any substance which introduces nicotine and other tobacco-related substances into the body,” which includes vape pens, Juuls, and other e-cigarettes.
The punishment for offenses ranges from exclusion from a given activity for 15 calendar days for the first offense to a calendar year for a third offense. Drug counseling and education programs are built into the policy as well, in addition to ongoing follow-up tests scaled to the number of offenses.
The policy divides students into two tiers: grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. “Offenses that occur in grades 6-8 shall not count as offenses in grades 9-12,” the policy states, which means that offending eighth graders entering the ninth grade will have the chance to tackle high school with a clean slate.
If a student refuses to submit a test authorized by the policy, it will count as a positive test. Parents may request that their students be added to the testing roster regardless of extracurricular participation status.
A full outline of the policy can be found in the School Board’s agenda from the July 18 meeting here.