BOUNTIFUL -- A policy for random drug testing of athletes, cheerleaders, drill team members and student body officers was passed by the Davis School Board, but not without some controversy.
Davis School Board members approved the policy with a vote of 4-2.
They also approved with a vote of 5-1 a change in a policy for ninth-graders who want to participate in high school sports. The former policy had an exemption that allowed children of district employees to play at the school at which their parent worked.
The new policy eliminates all exemptions. Ninth-graders can still play high school sports if they are qualified, but only within their school boundaries.
But the item that brought a discussion was the drug policy.
Davis School Board member David Lovato said at Tuesday's school board meeting that he does not support the drug policy, because it only tests 10 percent of the student body at the high schools.
"It is also unnecessary and redundant, because we have state laws on the book concerning illegal drug use," Lovato said.
Lovato said the school district should be educating students about illegal drug use.
Davis School Board member Tamara Lowe said she supports the policy because parents and coaches requested it.
Random drug testing is done at Box Elder, Ogden, Weber, Rich and Murray, officials said.
Each test would cost the district $15 to $16. The district plans to do 40 tests, or five students per high school, each week at a cost of $25,000 for the school year, officials said.
The cost of the drug test has been included in the increased student fees athletes will pay next year. The school board also approved those increased student fees in Tuesday's meeting held at Holbrook Elementary School.
Athletes, cheerleaders, drill team members and student body officers will be the ones to have random drug tests. Those students were chosen not necessarily because of any belief that drug use is high, but because students in those groups tend to be involved in other extracurricular activities such as band, orchestra, drama and choir, officials said.
If students make a team or are elected as student body officers, they and their parents will sign a consent form stating they understand that random drug testing will occur during the year, according to the policy.
If a student tests positive, the school administrator will contact parents, according to the policy.
The first time a student tests positive, he or she will be suspended for two games, meets, matches, events or performances, but will still be allowed to practice or meet with their group.
If there is a second positive test, the student will be suspended for six weeks of games, meets or competitions, and the student will be required to get some intervention.
The student will be allowed to practice with the group only after an assessment has been completed and a clean drug test has been provided. Parents are responsible for the cost of assessment and testing.
The third time a student produces a positive drug test, the student will be suspended for 18 weeks from all practices, games, meets and competitions.
The student can get back on the team only at the end of the 18 weeks, and only after completing a formal assessment, intervention and treatment program, plus providing a clean drug test, according to the policy.
Tests will be conducted for a number of substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, ecstasy and pharmaceutical-strength steroids.