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Diverse committee envisioned

By Staff
The committee charged with formulating Hartselle School Systems drug policy will consist of a member of the city council and a representative of the school board, as well as coaches, parents and students.
Leada DeVaney
Hartselle Enquirer
School Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell is formulating a list of the groups that will be represented on the committee. Among those groups will be: the city council; school board; a representative of the band boosters; parents of a cheerleader; two coaches – one from a female sport and one from a male sport; a male and female athlete; a representative from the junior high; and a classroom teacher who's not connected to athletics.
School Board President Susan Puckett said the committee will consist of 12-15 members. The committee will be charged with looking at several options for a system-wide drug testing policy, including who it will affect and how it will be administered.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," Hartsell said. "What we do have to do is answer two main questions: who all do you include (in the tests) and what are the penalties?"
Hartselle's school system is forming a committee to look into drug testing for students involved in extra curricular activities following an incident at the high school where two teens collapsed and were taken to the hospital. Both of the students were tested for drugs.
School officials initially said the results of the tests were negative, but later acknowledged that one of the students tested positive for marijuana. The incident prompted an array of questions about how it was handled and how the system dealt with student drug use.
Currently, the system's drug policy affects only those who are caught on campus with narcotics. There is no drug testing of athletes or anyone wanting to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Hartsell will present his list, along with some recommendations for actual committee members, at the board's May 13 meeting. Board members will also be making nominations.
Hartsell said most groups, such as the band boosters, will appoint its own representative to the committee. The biggest controversy seems to be looming over the appointment of the representative from the city council.
Councilmen Tom Chappell and Frank Jones have both asked to be named to the committee. Chappell has expressed his support of the school board and Hartsell, while Jones has been among those who have criticized the handling of the incident.