New Shelby County drug testing policy to include eighth grade st - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Shelby County drug testing policy to include eighth grade students

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SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) – The Shelby County School District will soon start implementing its random drug testing policy, which includes eighth grade students.

“I think it’s great,” said Joy Freeman, a parent in the school district.

It only includes the eighth graders who play up at the high school level.

“I agree with it. If you're going to play high school athletics, you should get drug tested,” said Wes Johnson, another parent in the school district.

School officials have received mostly positive feedback on its new random drug testing policy for athletes, which includes the relatively young students.

“If they're playing high school sports, they should be treated like every other high school athlete,” said Dr. Dave Weedman, Director of Student Services.

Weedman explains that eighth graders who play at the high school level will be included in the random lottery. A computer selects 25 percent of athletes three times per season to take a urine test.

“If we got kids out there participating in sports that are using drugs, there's a potential chance for injury and all the other things ... But we want to get help to them and the other reason is to give them a reason to say no,” Weedman said.

Freeman, who has a middle school student, thinks it’s a great idea because she says the younger you are, the more susceptible you are to peer pressure.

“They're playing with the older students and you never know what the influence might be on them at that grade,” Freeman said.

If a test comes back positive, the student will sit out 20 percent of his or her games and will be required to complete drug counseling. A second offense will result in them sitting out 40 percent of games. If it happens a third time, they are out the rest of the season and a fourth offense will end their high school athletic career.

“That actually gives me a bit of a comfort at home, knowing that they're not sneaking around doing it at home, going out with their friends doing it,"Johnson said.

"And it gives me a backup policy that ensures if they’re playing athletics, I don’t have to worry about it."

But Freeman would like the school district to take it one step further.

“A lot of times, I think it’s probably good for all students to be randomly drug tested,” she said.

As of right now, school officials say the drug testing is only a one-year pilot program.

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