By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – The Westborough School Committee will be discussing at its May 23 meeting a recent decision it had made which would authorize saliva tests on students suspected of using drugs or alcohol.
At its April 25 meeting, the committee voted to amend the district's Chemical Health policy to allow both saliva tests and breathalyzers (which have been used for many years) on students who are suspected of being impaired from drugs or alcohol. At that time, Ilyse Levine-Kanji, the committee's chair, noted the change was just part of a policy-wide review; it was not a reaction to a “perceived problem” or “uptick in risky behavior,” she said.
But the decision has caused some concern and confusion among students and parents, she noted. Therefore the committee has decided to re-visit the matter at its May 23 meeting.
Marianne O”Connor, the district's superintendent, recently announced that she will recommend that the School Committee retract the decision for the time being until further review of the matter can be done.
“Certainly, the Committee's proposal governing drug testing has merit when the administration believes a student's health or safety is at risk,” she said in an email. “We believe additional research and education is needed in order to continue to build trust among our students. We will continue to be vigilant in preventing drug use at school and at school-sponsored events. Efforts to educate our students and parents to the inherent dangers associated with illegal substances will continue.”
“As the school year comes to a close, our goal is to remain focused on the positive achievements of Westborough students and not be distracted by a premature drug test decision,” she added.
The School Committee will meet Wednesday, May 23 at 6:00 p.m.in Room 23 of the Forbes Municipal Building. The meeting is open to members of the public.
For information on the original decision go to http://communityadvocate.com/2012/04/29/westborough-districts-drug-testing-policy-changes-routine-not-related-to-increased-problems/.