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Ripon High considers random drug testing
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Ripon High could soon have a random drug testing policy in place.

On Monday, the Ripon Unified school board got the ball rolling by forming a committee on the matter.

“This was long overdue,” Trustee Mike Fisher said.

It was his idea to revisit the proposal that was initially bandied about in December 2012.

Back then, the California School Board Association, as an optional policy, recommended that school districts can chose to have a drug testing program in place for student athletes and activities.

Bret Harte and Lincoln (Stockton) were among the schools to adopt the policy.

Fisher’s plan is to put together a policy for RHS using samples already set forth by CSBA, Bret Harte and Lincoln.

“Sometimes, just saying ‘no’ isn’t enough,” he said. “For some kids, this (policy) could be a healthy out.”

The one at Bret Harte, for example, is in the athletic handbook and includes random drug testing conducted on a weekly basis. The cost is about $5,000, according to head varsity football coach Chris Johnson.

“I’m on board but where will the money come from?” he asked.

For now, Johnson along with RHS Vice Principal Keith Rangel, Trustee Chad Huskey, RUSD Director of Student Services Lisa Cheney, and student athlete Ellie Waters agreed to help out by serving on the committee for the purpose of putting a policy in place.

While Johnson has a zero tolerance policy in place to keep his student athletes in line, Fisher noted that a random drug testing policy would give them “a chance to get back on the team,” he said.

Added Huskey: “It not only identifies the kids but can give them the help they need.”

Rangel also favors such a policy.

“We’re in favor of anything that helps students say ‘no’ to drugs,” he said.