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Scott Co. school officials unveil new drug testing policy

May 12th, 2014 10:22 am by Wes Bunch

Scott Co. school officials unveil new drug testing policy

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GATE CITY — Scott County Public Schools officials have unveiled a new random drug testing policy that, if passed, would involve all students participating in high school athletics beginning in the fall.

The details of the Scott County Pledge Program, as the policy is called, were made public last week at the Scott County School Board's regular May meeting. The board is expected to review the policy before voting on it during its June meeting.

Scott County Schools Superintendent John Ferguson said the policy is not designed to single out particular students, but instead serve as a deterrent to drug use.

"By no means are we looking at using this as a way to catch people who may be using," Ferguson said. "Basically, the policy is to deter our student — athletes from being involved in drugs and drug activity in the first place."

If adopted, the testing regimen will apply to all students grades 8 through 12 who take part in Virginia High School League-sanctioned extra curricular activities not required for graduation.

Students will be tested for a variety of substances and their metabolites, including alcohol, marijuana (THC), synthetic cannabinoids, opiates, cocaine, methamphetamines, anabolic steroids, PCP, Ecstasy and/or anything defined as a controlled substance by either state or federal law.

The tests will be conducted at random and will be done by either collecting a urine specimen or oral fluid. Suspicion-based testing will also be done.

Students will only be subject to testing while their respective sport is in season, school officials said.

A student who fails a drug test the first time will be suspended from participating in VHSL events for a period of time equivalent to 50 percent total number of contests left to be played. A second failed test will result in a suspension for 75 percent of the remaining contests.

A third failed test will result in the student being banned from participating in any athletics or extra curricular activities for the rest of their high school tenure.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition at http://www.timesnews.net/e-edition.

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