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updated: 8/12/2011 5:07 PM

Lake Zurich district unveils drug test consequences

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Lake Zurich High School students who test positive for drugs would be suspended from sports and activities and lose parking privileges, under a draft of the plan discussed this week.

Those penalties would range from half the extracurricular season for a first offense to the entire year for a second positive test.

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Lake Zurich Unit District 95 officials discussed possible procedures and potential consequences that may be part of a random drug testing plan being considered.

"The purpose of tonight is for the board to go over the procedures," school board President Kathy Brown said at Thursday night's meeting. "This is just the next step in the process. If we were going to institute a drug testing policy, this is what it would look like."

District 95 officials have said students who participate in extracurricular programs and have parking permits will be eligible for drug testing. From that pool, up to 15 students would be randomly selected by a computer for testing in each of six periods during the school year.

District officials say they plan to schedule a community forum for early October to present the draft plan, answer questions and take feedback. Another community survey is planned for mid-October.

The policy could come up for a vote at the board's November meeting. If approved, it could be instituted by January 2012.

It has raised the ire of several parents who have formed an opposition group, saying the test would usurp the responsibilities of parents. They also argue it is aimed at the wrong group of students.

"It is not the responsibility of the school district to be giving kids drug tests, it's their responsibility to educate them," said parent Keith Petropoulos.

Under the draft, students would be suspended from participating in meetings, practices, competition or performances for 50 percent of the total season/academic year for the first offense. If less than 50 percent of the season or year remains, the punishment would carry over to the student's next season.

There would be an educational program for students to participate in and reduce their suspension.

For a second offense, students would be suspended from their activity for the rest of the year.

For students with parking permits, the first positive test would result in loss of parking privileges for 20 school days. Parking would be lost for the remainder of the school year, without a refund of parking fees, for a second offense.

Officials have not yet decided whether to use hair or urine as the method for the drug testing, but the draft plan outlines testing procedures for both.

For example, there are procedures to ensure students cannot dilute the test, including closing the bathroom to all other students, shutting off the faucets in the restrooms and putting blue dye in toilet water.

A positive test will be sent to an independent laboratory for retesting. If the student is on a prescription medication for illness or a medical condition, they have two attendance days to submit a documented explanation of the positive test result.

Any student who refuses to be tested will be judged as a positive test, according to the draft.

If the plan is approved, Petropoulos said he will instruct his children not to comply, meaning they would be suspended from participation in sports, choir, the law club and other activities.

"The parents are completely cut out of this process," said Petropoulos, who thinks more must be done to educate parents about the proposal. "It already looks as though (the policy) is a foregone conclusion and they're just going through the process as an exercise. It's underhanded."

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