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updated: 7/6/2011 9:47 PM

Dist. 95 drug testing plan concerns Lake Zurich residents

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By Danielle Gensburg

A Lake Zurich resident said he and a dozen other parents plan to speak out against a proposal to start random drug testing at Lake Zurich High School.

Keith Petropoulos, who has five children in Lake Zurich Unit District 95, said he and others have strong fears about the proposal to be discussed Thursday at 6:15 p.m. during a special school board committee meeting.

"If the drug testing passes through the board of education, our community will be convicted," Petropoulos said.

Among his myriad concerns are the children's' right to be protected from unreasonable search, the fear of taking responsibility from parents and put in the hands of the district, and consequences resulting from positive testing.

"Minors could get in panicked situations and confess to things that didn't happen," Petropoulos said.

He plans to attend the meeting and present a five-minute speech, and claims the district has not shown sufficient reasoning for the need for drug tests.

"There was allegedly going to be a partnership between the school district, parents, and law enforcement. However, the school has bypassed this and is already talking about procedures and policies of a drug testing program without showing us that there is a drug problem," he said.

Petropoulos said he heard remarks by Police Chief Patrick Finlon during a previous town meeting and claimed Finlon said there isn't a drug problem in Lake Zurich.

Finlon said he had done a presentation on police responses and surveys of students.

"What I would convey here is that Lake Zurich High School is no different from any other high school and that the community itself does not have any worse of a problem than others," he said.

School board President Kathy Brown said nothing has been set in stone about random drug testing.

"The purpose of the meeting tomorrow night is for the board to discuss with the administration the process that would take place if, and I repeat if, this drug testing program were implemented," Brown said, "We are fully aware of this particular gentleman's concerns."

Those concerns and other issues will be discussed Thursday, she said.

Public schools cannot make every student submit to drug tests, courts have ruled. Only pupils involved in clubs, sports or other extracurricular activities can be forced to do so.

Antioch and Lakes high schools are among the Lake County schools that have drug testing programs in place.

The meeting will be in the Lake Zurich High School library, 300 Church St.