Letter To Board

Letter To Board
I would like to commend the apparent effort of the Pulaski County Board of Education in their developing the new Drug/Alcohol Screening Program now in effect in both local high schools. I am grateful to see that some advance has been made to valorize the education process in our community. However, I am discouraged to see that the main focus of this program is centered around some of the most valued students in our schools. It is to my knowledge that this program is designed to screen students involved in extracurricular activities, including sports, and student drivers. Although I do believe that there is some sort of drug use within these groups, I do not feel that this is the epicenter of the school system?s problems.
Most drug use and/or drug trafficking, I have heard of and/or witnessed has not come from any of the groups listed in your policy. I believe it makes sense that some athletes use performance enhancing drugs and/or alcohol, as do some student drivers and club participants, but I do not feel that this is the area of greatest concern to you. As I am aware of, drugs and alcohol cause a condition called demotivational syndrome, which is evident in frequent drug users. This syndrome causes a lack of motivation, followed by a decline in academic performance, followed by an ultimate decline in personal well being. Student athletes for example, are expected to maintain a rigorous practice schedule, as well as a certain grade point average, which is inconsistent with the symptoms and effects of demotivational syndrome. I believe that the greatest amount of victims of drugs and demotivational syndrome are not located in athletic or school programs, but inside the school itself. No drug user I know of and may have been familiar with is involved with sports or extracurricular activities, nor would they choose to be.

It is to my knowledge that no less than 10% of student participants in these activities will be randomly screened at any time. But, if the main drug use in schools isn?t in the activities department, but in the school itself, why couldn?t 10% of the total student body be screened? It appears to not only me but other members of the student body, that the school board tests members of athletic departments and certain extracurricular activities because they are concerned about the public image of our school system. It seems to me that if board members were as concerned as they claim to be about the well being of students, they would consider screening all members of a particular student body in order to get an accurate sample. To accurately interpret a group as a representative of a whole, you are to make your testing group random and large. As far as I can see, the Board has only accomplished one of the afore mentioned feats. I can only assume that a larger testing sample would help the Board discern the drug users from the non drug users in our school system.

In my eyes, it appears that the Board is not necessarily discriminating against, but singling out members of athletics and extracurricular activities because of their appearance in the community. It appears to me that now that students know they may be tested because of their performance in a certain activity, they would choose not to participate in that activity or any other. The Board needs to realize that sports is not the most important thing in some athlete?s eyes. They may very well choose not to participate in a certain sport because of their involvement in drugs and/or alcohol. I feel that if the student body were equally tested that this would not only help seek out drug users in athletics, but effectively lower drug use as a whole.

I understand that the drug screening program already in place is doing an adequate job, and is more beneficial than no drug screening program at all. I also understand that each drug screening is a costly investment that may turn up to be money wasted, but if your true focus through this whole ordeal is the well being of students, then is it truly money wasted? But I doubt that this screening program is nothing more than an attempt at producing an esthetically pleasing image to the state and other entities, contrary to the public statements of many board members.

Letter To Board 8.4 of 10 on the basis of 1796 Review.