Wednesday, July 28, 2004

School may test athletes for drug use


Walton-Verona set to vote

By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer

WALTON - Student athletes in the Walton-Verona school system may be taking drug tests beginning this fall.

The school board is considering a new policy that would require all students to be tested when their sport begins, followed by random tests during the season. The program would put the district among a handful of others in Northern Kentucky, including Erlanger-Elsmere, Campbell County and Dayton, that test athletes.

"I'm totally for it," said basketball and volleyball player Megan Huellemeier, a senior at Walton-Verona High School. "People look up to student athletes as role models. If we can cut (drugs) out there, it will at least kind of control it."

The Walton-Verona district has 508 students in 7-12th grade, 287 of whom play sports.

Since last spring, high school officials have been meeting with teachers, parents and students to get their input on drug testing.

The catalyst was a survey given to students every two years. Over time, it has shown that the perception of drug use among students is higher than the reality, Principal Mark Krummen said. Some students might be tempted to try drugs based on those perceptions, he said. The threat of drug tests will give them a tool for resisting peer pressure.

District officials cautioned that the policy is preliminary. The school board may make changes before taking a final vote next month.

The draft calls for the following:

• A preseason meeting with parents and students will cover expectations, and students will sign an anti-drug contract.

• After teams are selected, all athletes will be given a drug screening test. If they fail, students will take another test to confirm the results.

• Those who test positive must enroll in a 10-day drug intervention program and will be ineligible to play or practice their sport until they complete the program and pass another drug test. They then must pass a test every 30 days for the rest of their season.

• Consequences for the students' sports participation increase with further violations. However, the students' test results will not lead to disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion, nor will the results be included in student records.

---

E-mail kgutierrez@enquirer.com




2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
Weiser: Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?
Kerry portrayed as a hero
Text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's speech
Son of goat herder addresses Dems
Text of the keynote address by Barack Obama
Kucinich delegates weigh their choice
Even reruns beat politics
Convention notebook
Gannett News Service convention coverage
Enquirer's election section

TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Languishing on the riverfront
Bengals lawsuit provokes outrage
Disabled man mistreated by E-check staff
Gay-rights supporters file for repeal
AllOut mag debuts Aug. 19
WLWT editor fired over insert
Van shooting victim in critical condition
Drug dealer to battle sentence
Drake halts TV ads paid by levy
UC targets potential lung cancer gene for treatment
Medicare to cut cancer docs' pay
Deters cleared, aides guilty
Lawsuit: Goering botched estate
Local news briefs

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
I-471 study to include new ramps at each end
School may test athletes for drug use
Nick sticks to home front
Creditors continue to file against Florence's baseball team
Claims alleging sex abuse rise to 19
Kids learn to manage their money at camp
Grieving mother urges speed limit
Smoking-ban trial set for bingo hall

EDUCATION
CPS rethinks suspensions
Greeks give lessons

NEIGHBORS
Neighbors news digest

GOOD THINGS HAPPENING
Summer charity helps children, elderly cool off

LIVES REMEMBERED
Arthur Church was Democratic activist, lawyer
Ralph Clark headed Cincinnati Bar Assn.