Plainwell parents weigh in on school drug testing

Allegan County

PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Plainwell Community Schools parents and community members weighed in Monday at a board meeting on the district considering random drug testing .

Earlier this month, the community learned that the district is considering to randomly drug test students in extracurricular activities. It would look for nicotine, THC, opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine. Students would be subject to the random drug testing three times a year.

If the test is positive, the student would also lose 25% of playing time for the season, but they can still be on the team and practice. They also have an option to take a drug information course.

Several parents and community members showed up to the meeting to hear from school administrators and to voice their opinions on the plans.

“I don’t feel that random is ever random and that is one of my big concerns,” Kristin Evers, a parent in the district, said at the meeting. “I don’t feel there’s a lot of equity in random drug testing. I feel like if you want to have equity in terms of what you’re doing at the school, you drug test everybody or you drug test nobody.”

Parents were grateful that the district is trying to tackle the issue, but most don’t think random drug testing is the answer.

“My question is, what are we doing? What’s the point of this? I’d like to point (out) that we all want a healthy environment for our students. We want to make sure they’re drug free … successful adults,” Michael Hueschen, another parent, said. “And I believe sports teaches that. And by holding this over their head, I’m worried we’re going to lose that point.”

Principle Dr. Jeremy Wright answered questions about privacy, penalties and how the district plans educate students.

“You might not agree with the method on this. You might not agree with the way it is, but it’s something and I think it’s a deterrent for some people and hopefully it gives that one or two or 10 or 20 kids,” Wright said.  

Plainwell Board of Education President Amy Blades explained why she believes this is what the district needs.

“I am so passionate about this because it is a problem,” Blades said. “It is an absolute problem. Anybody that thinks it’s not is even a bigger problem.” 

The board did not vote on the changes Monday. They’re expected to take up the proposal in two weeks.  

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