The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 22, 2013

Drug testing policy set for review

HERMITAGE — Hermitage School Board members now have a written student drug testing policy to review and will be asked to vote on it in November.

Hermitage police patrolman Anthony Moses, the school resource officer stationed at Hickory High School, proposed in February creating a voluntary program in which a small, randomly selected number of students in grades 8 through 12 are tested monthly for drug use.

Parents would issue written permission for their students to participate, and could pull that permission in writing at any time.

The results of the tests would be sent to parents. School officials and police would not be notified of the results. The confidentiality of the program would be a key to its success, Moses said.

Officials said they hope to create positive peer pressure, where it becomes unusual if a student has not volunteered to be in the pool.

The policy largely falls within the outline proposed by Moses, with the exception that the policy would permit testing of urine samples as well as hair samples. Officials up until now had talked exclusively about hair testing.

“There’s been a lot of discussion as to which process to use,” Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bell said Monday. “Differing opinions about the proper way to do that.”

With hair testing, school personnel would cut a small lock of hair, but the hair would have to be sent out for testing. With urine testing, an outside agency would be brought in to collect samples, but there are an established urine-testing infrastructure because many employers require drug testing, and Sharon Regional Health System would be willing to send someone in to collect samples, Bell said.

Urine testing would be cheaper than hair testing, he said.

Bell said officials have not decided which way to go and might offer students the option of choosing a process.

The policy states its purposes are to enhance communication between students and parents on drug prevention; provide students who use drugs access to assistance programs; deter drug use; prevent school disruptions and students accidents and injuries resulting from drug use; and protect the health and safety of students.

A positive test result disclosed to school officials by a parent will not result in academic or disciplinary consequences to the student, the policy says. School officials plan to present these parents with a list of agencies that could offer help for their children.

The policy also states that all costs shall be paid by the district, but officials are hoping that donations and grants will cover all expenses.

Bell said the district has already collected about $4,000 with at least another $600 expected to come in the spring, more than enough to cover the projected first-year budget of $4,000 for the program.

Board members have been supportive of the idea and their comments Monday dealt with the language of specific provisions.

School board member Paul H. Paoletta asked administrators to clarify language dealing with minors when some students tested will be 18 or older, making them adults.

Board member Timothy Kizak asked that the policy specify that school employees will not handle the collection of urine.

If the board approves the policy at its Nov. 18 meeting, letters will go out to parents the next week informing them of the program and allowing them to register students, Bell said.

It has not been determined when the first tests would be conducted, but Bell said he expects to begin the program this year.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • trout island trail paving Hot on the trail

    Work began last week to pave a section of the Trout Island Trail, replacing a crushed limestone surface.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo