Random drug testing for student athletes approved by Shelby Coun - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Random drug testing for student athletes approved by Shelby County School Board

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SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Shelby Country School Board of Education has unanimously approved a one year pilot program to random drug test student athletes.

“It gives kids a reason to say no,” said Shelby County Student Support Specialist Dave Weedman.

The idea got started months ago by Shelby County High School graduate Kelly McNew. McNew is director of Shelby Prevention, a non-profit organization working to end substance abuse. Her booth was set up one night at a basketball game where she met players from the opposing team.

“I just said don't do drugs and they said we can't, we get drug tested. And so to me, that set an official click in my mind,” said McNew.

From there the organization offered a $10,000 grant to Shelby County Schools. Thursday night, board members decided to match that amount from district funds for a total of $20,000 geared toward random drug testing.

School officials say the testing of student athletes isn't to catch them after the fact, but to prevent them from taking drugs.

“It's meant to be able so that a kid has a good excuse that his friends will listen to him when he says 'look I play ball, if I get caught, I won't be able to play ball. I might be suspended and I just don't want to take that chance.' And kids will understand that."

Weedman say it's likely all athletes will be tested before their seasons start. After that, the random testing will begin. However the school district has not decided what type of testing will be used or the grade levels subjected to the testing.

“It may be two random things throughout the season," Weedman said. "You'd have two random drug tests in the fall, two in the winter, two in the spring, something like that,” said Weedman.

Graduating high school only six years ago, McNew says she knows what the peer pressure can be like and she hopes the testing will take that out of the equation.

“I think this gives students a great reason to say no. I think often times kids are pressured and they want to say no. And sometimes you just need that extra reason,” said McNew.

The school still has to work out all the logistics, but the drug testing will be implemented at the beginning of the next school year.

Related: Trinity High to start random drug testing of students

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