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Trustees say no to drug tests

Cite lack of problem among Ripon High athletes

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POSTED May 15, 2013 2:11 a.m.

Don’t look for Ripon High to have mandatory drug testing just yet.

The Ripon Unified school board on Monday opted against the passing of the policy, citing “no problem” on the matter at this time.

“When we talked about this a few months ago, Ripon High football coach (Chris) Johnson claimed he didn’t see a problem. But some of his athletes disagreed, saying that the school had (drug) problems,” Trustee Ernie Tyhurst noted.

Another reason for not passing the policy had to do with budget limitations. Instead, the school administration is aware that a community-wide coalition is being formed in search of a drug-free community grant.

“A policy such as this could be aligned with the vision of that task force and may be eligible for grant funding at the time the grant is submitted,” according to a staff report.

The board shot down a policy that called for testing of amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, opiates and PCP for student athletes along with those involved in extracurricular activities.

Bret Harte High and Lincoln High – the latter just adopted the policy – are the schools in the area to adopt this random drug-testing policy, according to Superintendent Louise Johnson.

Trustees last addressed this issue at their Dec. 10 session.

“In preparation for that meeting, I met with students of the Leadership class at Ripon High,” Johnson recalled. “They provided rich discussions on both for and against this program.”

The launching of Measure G school bonds that called for revitalizing Weston and Colony Oak schools put the policy on the backburner until now.

If passed, cost for the drug test might have included a $125 tech fee per each visit to the district coupled with an estimated fee of $30 or $35 per student for the proposed test panel.

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