System's drug policy under closer scrutiny

By Staff
Leada DeVaney
Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's Board of Education could deal with questions related to the on-going student drug controversy as early as its next meeting.
In a letter sent to Mayor Clif Knight, Board President Susan Puckett said the board is coming up with a list of questions and concerns related to the system's drug policy. The board has a meeting scheduled for May 13 at 5 p.m. at the school board.
The questions are the result of the controversy surrounding the collapse of two Hartselle High School students last month. Drug tests were administered to both students. School officials initially said the results of both tests were negative, but later reversed that, saying one of the students had tested positive for marijuana.
Following the outcry over the response to the incident, Hartselle Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell said the board would form a committee to look at the existing drug policies.
In her letter, Puckett said board members have been asked to "bring any questions they have regarding these issues," to the next meeting.
"Answering the questions and concerns…requires a review of policies, a review of the actions of individuals, a determination of the ways in which policies or procedures may be improved, as well as how new policies may address those concerns," Puckett said.
Puckett warned, however, against expecting an immediate solution.
"The city of Decatur has spent a year going through the process of developing such a policy," she said. "The process of establishing policy is one that must be made with deliberation and by its nature is not accomplished quickly."
Knight said he is "encouraged" by the school's board's willingness to look at its policies.
In a letter sent to the board on April 19, Knight said he was "encouraged that you all (the board) have initiated the effort to come up with a random drug testing policy for our school system."
Knight said he also believes it would be productive for the school board and city council to meet at least twice a year. Hartselle's City Council appoints school board members but has no direct control over its actions.

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