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updated: 10/18/2011 12:45 PM

D95 parents get new drug-testing survey

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Invitations to complete a much-anticipated survey about random drug testing were sent to Lake Zurich Unit District 95 parents Monday.

The survey, the second on the subject, was delivered about a month before the board is expected to decide whether to begin a drug-testing program at Lake Zurich High School.

Invitations were sent to about 4,000 parents of current District 95 students, spokeswoman Jean Malek said.

The four-question form asks people how they feel about random drug testing at the school and gives them opportunities to explain their answers. It also has space for parents to add their own comments about the proposal.

The questions do not give parents any information about the board's drug testing proposal. Some details are included in the emailed invitation from Superintendent Michael Egan, but parents can read the entire proposal on the district's website, lz95.org.

The survey was deliberately brief, Malek said.

"We felt those were the questions (board members) were trying to get at," she said. "It boiled it down."

Parents have until 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, to complete the online survey. Parents without email addresses on file with the district office will receive printed surveys through the mail, Malek said.

People who aren't parents of District 95 students can fill out the survey and email the results to the board through the website, but their responses won't be counted statistically, officials have said.

The proposed drug-testing procedures also are viewable on the district's website.

District 95 officials have been developing a drug-testing policy for Lake Zurich High School students for about a year. Under the plan, testing would be limited to students in extracurricular activities or those who drive to school. U.S. courts have restricted drug testing at public schools to such optional activities.

Teens found to have been using illegal drugs would be suspended from participating in activities for half a season or academic year. Second offenses would result in activity suspension for the rest of the year.

Dozens of people who attended a public forum on the plan two weeks ago at Middle School North strongly opposed the concept. Some said it interfered with their parental rights, and others said it unfairly singles out kids in extracurricular programs.

The plan had relatively few supporters that night. However, audience members expressed support and opposition at a subsequent meeting last week.

The first survey, completed earlier this year, revealed parental support for the general concept of random drug testing. The survey went out before the details of the district's proposal were made public.

The board is expected to discuss the survey results at a Nov. 3 meeting. The panel could vote on the matter Nov. 17.

Few public high schools in the North or Northwest suburbs randomly test students for drug use. Antioch and Lakes high schools are among those that do.

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