On Jan. 8, 2014, the Emery County Board of Education approved the Emery High School Drug-Testing Policy as well as a $10 drug-testing fee for all students who will be involved in drug-tested activities. Adoption of this policy came only after several years of research and public input. According to Principal Larry W. Davis, "We are now approaching the time when the policy will come into effect and want all of our stakeholders to be informed about processes and consequences."
To prepare for the launching of the new policy, Mr. Davis and Assistant Principal Steven Gordon have met with all students in Emery High Learning Strategies classes as well as ninth graders at San Rafael and Canyon View junior high schools. Letters to parents explaining the new drug-testing policy have also been sent while additional information has been posted on the school's website.
In approving the policy, the school board also agreed to allow Emery High School to pilot the drug-testing program this spring. Beginning the first week of March, students involved in baseball, softball, track, boys soccer, girls golf, drill team, cheerleading, and student government will be included in the pilot program. Each participant will be required to have a signed consent form by a parent/guardian which will allow for testing of their student. Once the consent form is turned in, the student will be assigned a number, and that number will be added to the numbers of other students involved in testing. Each week, five student numbers will be drawn, and the corresponding students will be required to provide a urine sample for lab testing.
Regarding the collection of samples, Mr. Davis said, "Please understand that only two high school employees will know the names corresponding to student numbers and that collection of samples will be done with the utmost discretion. Lab work on urine samples will be processed in professional labs off campus."
Positive tests will not be referred to law enforcement. However, there will be school-level sanctions as follows: First offense- two game/performance suspension and drug assessment; second offense- six-week suspension and drug assessment; third offense- 18-week suspension and drug assessment. The suspensions carry over from season to season and school year to school year.
Because this is a pilot program, the school will cover the costs of testing this spring. When the program begins in the fall, students planning on participating in any Emery High School athletic program, drill team, cheer, and/or student government will be assessed the $10 drug-testing fee. This will be paid annually and will not increase unless approved by the school board.
Copies of the approved policy and additional information are available at the school and on the school website at emerycsd.org (go to the "Schools" drop-down menu and hit Emery High). In addition, if you have questions about the policy, you may contact Mr. Davis or Mr. Gordon at Emery High.