000803_1071_3289_v__v.thmA Pennsylvania school district’s new policy gives student athletes a chance to admit to drug use before they are randomly selected for drug testing.  The student athletes who admit to drug use before testing will not receive a 20 day suspension imposed on students who have a positive drug test result.  The student admitting drug use must participate in a drug treatment program just as students who do fail the drug test.  According to a school official,  the new policy applies to all students who participate in extra-curricular activities such as band etc. which do not come with academic credit.  Under existing policy a student who fails a drug test receives a 20 day suspension from the sport for the first offense and a one year suspension for a second offense.  A third violation results in permanent ban from the sport and the student is barred for attending athletic events.  Drugs are defined as controlled substances, prescription or patent drugs for which the student does not have permission to use, anabolic and non-anabolic steroids, look-alike drugs, drug paraphernalia and an solvents or inhalants.

A student who admits to using drugs and his/her parents must sign an agreement for the student to be drug tested up to two times a year, at the district’s discretion throughout the rest of the student’s high school career.  The student can be randomly selected again as long as they are participating in sports or extracurricular activities.

A student who fails the test is suspended for his/her sport or activity for 20 days for the first offense and must do one of the following things.  1.  Communicate with a prevention/intervention specialist assigned through the school district’s Student Assistance Team.  2.  Enroll in the county drug and alcohol prevention program with parents paying all costs.  3.  Enroll in another drug assessment and prevention program approved by the school district with the parents paying all the cost.  A school official said we are not doing this because we want to catch and punish students.  Instead, we want to identify kids who might have a problem and help them resolve it.

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