Policy may enforce drug testing of student athletes | NevadaAppeal.com

Policy may enforce drug testing of student athletes

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Athletes at Carson High School may have to submit to random drug testing next year if a proposed policy is adopted.

In a presentation to the school board Tuesday night, Carson High School Principal Ron Beck said he will organize a series of meetings with parents, students and coaches in the coming months to discuss the idea.

“We are looking at this as a very positive step for the students at Carson High School,” he said. “We’re hoping it will carry over to the community.”

Athletic Director Bob Bateman said the proposal is not a response to any particular problem, but could help curb rising drug use among teenagers across the country.

“If you look at the history of our culture, there seems to be more substance abuse,” Bateman said. “It’s not any worse here, I don’t think, than at any other schools.”

He pointed to recent success at Reno’s McQueen High School, which began random drug testing last year.

“They had very positive results,” he said. “They said it changed the demeanor of the whole school.”

Bateman said it gives students “someone to blame” ” if pressured to use drugs, they can refuse based on fear of being caught on the drug test.

“That in itself is valuable,” he said.

He said studies often indicate athletes are role models at schools. He said changing McQueen athletes’ behavior influenced the behavior of fellow students.

“The athletes stopped going to some of the parties because even being in the presence of some of those things would cause them to show up positive on the test,” he said. “They started having some of their own parties where it wasn’t allowed and other kids would come to those parties. So it had some positive effects.”

Athletes already must sign a contract pledging to remain drug- and alcohol-free. Under the contract, the first offense results in a two- to six-week suspension, the second in a 90-day suspension from participating in athletics and the third means the athlete can no longer participate in high school sports in Nevada.

School administrators and district officials will meet March 11 with vendors to determine which drugs will be targeted in the test and get more information on how the process would work. At the same time, Douglas County school officials will meet with the vendor.

If the new policy is adopted, Bateman said, it would be completely random, with the vendor selecting students rather than coaches or administrators.

Beck said the program would be funded through grant money from the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, the Carson City Meth Coalition and the Community Council on Youth.

Once the meetings are scheduled ” most likely in May ” they will be advertised.

“We want an open discussion,” Bateman said. “We want parent and community input.”

Trustee Norm Scoggin supported the idea.

“I think this is an extremely positive program,” he said. “I just can’t encourage you enough to go ahead with this program.”

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.

Trustee Norm Scoggin was appointed to the Legislative Liaison Committee to replace Joe Enge, who resigned from the committee at the last meeting after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

WHAT: Carson City School Board workshop to discuss potential budget cuts

WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: Carson City School District Office, 1402 W. King St.