POLL: Xenia Schools consider drug testing of students

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XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The Xenia Community School District Board of Education is considering implementing drug testing for students in extracurricular activities.

The Xenia Daily Gazette reported Board members began what is likely to be a long process by hearing from a panel of experts during a work session Monday. Board members stressed a decision is not imminent and that they are just in a fact-finding stage.

“We’re not rushing to make a judgment,” Dr. Pam Callahan told the Xenia Daily Gazette.

The panel included Capt. Scott Anger from the county ACE Task Force, Xenia Police Capt. Dean Dean Margioras, Juvenile Court Judge Adolfo Tornichio and Magistrate/Court Administrator Amy Lewis, Patrick Dubbs, superintendent of Wayne Local Schools in Waynesville, Joseph Scholler, the district’s legal counsel, and Kyle Prueter, president of Great Lakes Biomedical, which performs drug testing at 160 Ohio schools.

The purpose was to gather information that is pertinent to determining whether drug testing is appropriate in Xenia.

Anger provided an updated on what types of drugs are being abused in the county, while Margioras explained his role as the district’s school resource officer.

“Anything you see nationally you will see in Xenia,” Anger said. “Xenia is no different than anywhere else in the nation.”

“We don’t have this problem every day,” Margioras said.

The number of Xenia youth passing through the court’s diversion program for first-time offenders – 38 of 145 total cases from 2015-18, the Xenia Daily Gazette reported.

Scholler told board members that such drug testing policies are legal because having drug free schools outweighs privacy. He cited the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Case Veronia School District v. Acton in which the court ruled 6-3 that drug testing is legal.

Prueter gave an overview of his company which tests 160 Ohio schools. He reiterated that it’s not a “gotcha” program but more of an intervention opportunity. His costs are based on how many panels are tested, calling it “cafeteria style.”

Gary Henry, who will be a junior at the high school told the Xenia Daily Gazette he was “shocked” to find out the board was entertaining the idea of drug testing. He said there are a lot of students he knows who smoke and vape in the bathrooms.

“You can’t even see the toilet half the time,” Henry said.

Henry said some students say they smoke because there is nothing to do and suggested using the money that would be spent on drug testing to implement more programs.

Board members are expected to discuss the matter again at their board meeting, 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 12.

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