BRIGHAM CITY -- The Box Elder School Board has formally adopted a less-intrusive definition for the way students will be observed when taking drug tests required for participation in extracurricular activities.
Parents had been concerned that personnel observing random drug tests would be intruding on student privacy rights by being in the bathroom stall while the urine sample was being provided.
The new policy definition of "observed" says: "Students will be watched as they empty all pockets; turning the pocket inside out if possible; remove all coats, jackets, sweaters and other extra clothing layers; set aside all backpacks, purses, books, or other carried items; accept the sample collection cup from the health worker; enter the stall in which the water in the toilet has been dyed; close the door of the stall; provide the sample while the health worker and school employee wait outside the stall; and return the sample to the health care worker."
Superintendent Steven Laing said the language was very consistent with language the U.S. Supreme Court approved for random student drug-testing policies in 1994.
In addition, the school board modified the drug- testing policy to state that the collection of samples will be conducted by two people -- a school employee and health personnel from the Bear River Health Department -- of the same gender as the student being tested.
Parents again addressed the board, stating there had to be a better way to handle drug problems in the school.
"These are good students who have high GPAs," said parent Tiffanie Daines. "We are treating them as criminals. We are not getting to the root of the problem."
Debbie Allen asked, "Is it worth the price a shy, insecure, modest youth would have to pay? I believe this program will do more harm than good. Don't destroy morality.
"We must be careful that the cure is not worse than the disease. We have rules already in place to stop the problem."
Board member Connie Archibald said the board has heard from parents as passionate as the parents at this meeting who pleaded with the board to provide a drug-testing policy.
In an earlier meeting, board member Nancy Kennedy explained the need to have the testing be completely random.
"If we start picking students that look like they need to be tested, we are opening ourselves up for lawsuits," she said. "This policy (of randomly testing all students who have signed up for competitive activities) meets legal requirements."
The board asked that this policy be brought again to the next board meeting to clarify timelines for punishments for those who test positive and to bring the policy in line with the district's and high school's drug and alcohol policies.