By Fred Petke / Staff Writer

After 10 months of discussion and revision, a broader drug testing policy survived its first reading before the Corbin school board Monday night.

The board approved the first reading of policy, with the reservation that language revisions be made, with a 4-1 vote.

The policy, if approved following a second reading, will call for random drug testing of all students who participate in extracurricular activities, those who drive or park on school property or whose parents sign a waiver for their participation. The original policy, which was approved in 1998, applied only to student athletes.

Board member Dr. Carmel Wallace said he couldn’t vote for the policy. Wallace, a Corbin pediatrician, said the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines earlier Monday recommending more research into student drug testing. The group suggested more research into the “safety and efficacy” of school-based testing programs.

“I’m not going to go against my academy,” Wallace said. “It makes more sense to me than a group of educators.”

In the statement, the AAP said there has not been enough research to prove whether drug testing at school is a deterrent to illegal drug use. It also cautioned about testing possibly harming parent-child and school-child relationships.

Wallace also questioned the quality of available training material for students. The policy calls for educational seminars once a semester for coaches and staff, which would be open to students as well.

The draft policy specifies urine analysis for a number of drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs, marijuana, amphetamines and cocaine. Presently, about 250 high school athletes are eligible to be tested for drugs. None tested positive during 2005-06, according to district officials.

If a student tests positive, the student will be suspended from their extracurricular activity for four weeks of the season or four events, whichever is longer. Student drivers will not be allowed to drive to school for four consecutive weeks. If necessary, the suspension will carry over into another athletic team.

Before reinstatement, the student must complete four days of prevention education, at least four counseling sessions and submit to another drug test.

For a second violation, the penalties increase to eight weeks. A third violation would bring a year’s suspension from the activity.

The district will cover the costs of the testing, at $12 each, but subsequent tests following a first offense will be paid by the student and parents, according to the policy.

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