Anderson Dist. 5 Proposal: Drug Test Students in Extracurricular - WSPA.com

Anderson Dist. 5 Proposal: Drug Test Students in Extracurriculars

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Anderson School District 5 will vote next week on a new proposal to drug test high school students.

If approved, it would impact students who participate in sports, band, cheerleading and the fishing team at T.L. Hanna and Westside High.

Those students would get randomly tested for drugs, alcohol and steroids during the school year.

Doug McdDougald's kids are big into sports in the district. But McDougald knows some of their classmates are big into other activities he's not a fan of, so he's not going to "put our head in the sand and think that it's not in our backyard or not at our school, and it is."

That's why he said he supports the school district's proposal.

"An extracurricular is not a property right. Students choose to participate. And as a result, we can choose to set parameters for that participation," said Anderson School District 5 superintendent Tom Wilson.

Wilson said it's a policy that worked for the last district he was in charge of in Georgia.

"It's very difficult to say 'I can't, no, because my mom told me not to.' It's a little easier to say, 'Hey, I'm on the football team or I'm in the band and I may get randomly tested,'" said Wilson.

About a dozen students a month would get tested at school by an outside contractor. They'd likely have to be taken out of class to do it.

It would cost $10,000 from the general fund a year -- out of the district's $100 million budget.

A failed test would mean the student would have to sit out a certain number of games and get counseling.

Westside High School Athletic Director Rayvan Teague said it's a good learning experience for the working world and college sports. He said it also teaches students what's expected of a role model.

"The very nature of southern athletics is, if you play football or if you're a sports person, that you're a high profile person and you're important to the community. You're a representative of the community and a school as a whole," said Teague.

The school board will vote on the policy on Tuesday at the district office. You have the chance to make your voice heard in a public hearing at 6 p.m. directly before the 6:30 meeting.

If it gets voted into policy, Anderson 5 would not be the first school district in the upstate to randomly drug test student athletes.

High school athletes, including cheerleaders, in Spartanburg School District 5 also get randomly tested. Spartanburg 5 spokesperson Melissa Robinette said, over the last several years the policy has been in place, only a handful of students have tested positive for drugs. Spartanburg 5 does not include band members in that testing.

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Jenna Troum
Jenna is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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