Salem School Board adopts new drug policy
Salem students who want to participate in extracurricular activities or park their cars on campus will be required to submit to random drug testing in the fall.
The Salem School Board unanimously passed the new policy at the May 15 Salem School board meeting at the superintendent's office.
"We met with groups of students, two from each grade level. There were no negative comments," Salem Superintendent Ken Rich said. Rich said all the feedback he got from the public has been positive, with only one person asking for a copy of the policy.
Sue Gatewood of Salem, who was the only person to show up for the public comment session, said she thought the policy would lead to a better school which would mean a better community. "I'm proud to see the school doing that," she said.
Rich said the testing would be held once a month and 2 to 15 percent of students would be tested at any one time. "It would be five to 35 students. A different amount would be tested each month," Rich said. The students would be selected from a random pool of students participating in extracurricular activities, parking on campus or who have volunteered to for screening.
Rich said the tests will be done by urinalysis. He said two companies have shown interest in handling the testing.
Gatewood told the board that some children may have trouble going to the bathroom, adding she had seen people have similar trouble at a workplace. "The kids will probably be nervous until they get used to it," she said.
"They'll have to go before the day is over. They'll get a bottle of water and be sent back to class," Rich said. He said the students would be able to take the test anytime during the day.
Rich said students with prescriptions will be told to bring them at the time of the test.
Rich said he will invite representatives of the companies, National Med Test from Jonesboro and Multi-Drug Testing Company from Ash Flat, to speak to the school board at their next meeting on June 19.
"The next step will be to approve the policy and a company to do the testing," Rich said. He said because of the lack of negative comment and because approving it now would give the school two weeks to introduce the policy, they should go forward with approval.
In other school business:
The board approved an $18,386.47 bid by Total Asphalt to handle the resealing and repair of the parking lot at the high school.
The other bids submitted were by B&W Asphalt for $18,280.09 and King Asphalt for $25,161.
The board approved adding $1,000 to the base salary of certified employees. It also approved adding 3 percent to the base salary for classified employees.
The board accepted the resignation of Linda Simers. Simers is a retiring fifth grade teacher at Salem. Rich said she has been teaching at Salem for 30 years. No replacement has been recommended.