Most jobs require it, and now extracurricular activities in Glynn County Schools might soon demand drug testing as well.
Glynn County Board of Education is considering implementing a random drug-testing policy for students involved in extracurricular activities and athletics. School Board officials believe it could be a "positive first step."
"We have been asked by the Board of Education what it would take to implement a drug testing policy of our students involved in extracurricular activities,” says Jim Weidhaas, Glynn County Schools Public Relations Director. “It is being talked about in terms of students who are in extracurricular activities including athletics, band, and clubs.”
The Board of Education discussed the possibility of creating a school policy at a school board meeting Tuesday night. In a letter to board officials, Glynn County Schools Athletic Director Steve Waters wrote:
“I feel like this is a positive step for Glynn County Schools to take. I do want to stress, however, that the program must be for all extra-curricular activities, not just athletics.”
Waters also wrote that more than 80 percent of Glynn Co. School coaches were polled and said they were in favor of the random test.
But not much else is known about a potential policy, according to Weidhaas, because the policy is still in the early planning stages.
“What we do know is that the cost would be determined by the scope of the implementation.”
According to Waters, if the county decides to approve a random drug testing policy, the cost could be as much as $10,000. Taxpayers, however, would not be on the hook for that cost because the money can’t come out of the general school budget.
Glynn County School Board Chair Mike Hulsey declined to comment for this story.
"I think they should absolutely test and it would be to their benefit if they did,” says Lisa Barr. She is the grandmother of a 10th grader at Glynn Academy. “I think it is absolutely necessary.”
Barr says she has heard rumors about drug issues in Glynn County Schools.
“I’ve heard certain things from my granddaughter and other people about the drug use here.”
Glynn County is looking to nearby Ware and Camden counties, which already drug-test, as examples.
In an email to First Coast News, Camden County Schools says it tests up to 20 percent of randomly selected students. Officials declined to speak on-camera, but say their program works.
“The process allows for the confidential identification of students that might need help so that assistance can be provided to parents and students,” Camden County Schools Director of Student Services Joseph Goble said in an email. “It also gives the student an ‘out’ when they can tell their peers that they can’t participate in drug use because of the drug testing program we use.”
As for Glynn County, Weidhaas says if the district does move forward with approving the policy, it wouldn’t take effect until the 2018-2019 school year.
“Our focus is to do the research right now and then determine if it is something we want to implement, then we will do it correctly.”