The Cassville R-4 School Board approved revisions to the district's drug testing procedures at its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 15, 2011.
In November of 2011, Chris Redmon, high school principal, presented the board with a proposal to increase the testing panel and number of tests conducted by the district each year.
The Cassville School District previously used a four-panel test that covered cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamine and methamphetamine. With approval of the revision, the district will begin using a 12-panel test, which will screen for several additional drugs, including an increased number of prescription medications.
Additional drugs covered by the 12-panel screening include: phencyclidine or PCP; benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Xanax; barbiturates; oxycodone, such as Percodan, Percocet and Oxycontin; methadone; propoxyphene, a synthetic opiate; and methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as Ecstasy.
The approved revision also increases the number of high school students who are randomly selected for each test and the number of tests conducted each year.
"We will be testing 20 times per school year," said Richard Asbill, superintendent. "This is approximately twice a month.
"Essentially, our drug testing policy is remaining the same, but we will be using a broader range of testing options," said Asbill. "We will also be randomly testing for synthetic drugs."
The new testing procedures will increase the district's drug testing costs by $5,850 per year.
Currently, 85 percent of Cassville High School students take part in the district's drug testing pool. All students involved in extracurricular activities are required to take part in the program, but many students are added to the pool voluntarily by parents.
If the district receives a positive result from a test conducted at the school, the test sample is forwarded to a lab to confirm the results, said Redmon. After the results are confirmed, district officials schedule discussions with both the student and the parents.
A first offense results in suspension from half of the contests during the competitive season the student is currently or planning to participate in. The length of suspension can be reduced if the student voluntarily seeks at least five hours of drug and alcohol abuse counseling.
A second offense results in suspension from all competitive activities for one full year. The length of suspension can be reduced if the student voluntarily seeks at least 15 hours of counseling.
Students who are suspended from activities are required to pass a drug test prior to resuming participation.
If a student tests positive three times, they are permanently suspended from all competitive activities for the remainder of their high school career at the R-4 District.
In other business, the Cassville R-4 School Board:
* Reviewed the science, practical arts and technology programs.
* Received a report on the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett.
* Heard administrative reports.
* Accepted the resignation of Sue Cavness, first grade teacher, who will retire at the end of the 2011-12 school year.
* Hired the following staff members: Carl Moore, bus driver; Sharon Tate, custodian; Montana Coupland, part-time cook; and Michele Hovland, Angela Judd and Linda Morgan, substitute teachers.
* Hired Davis, Lynn and Moots to conduct the 2011-12 school year audit.
* Received Missouri School Board Association policy updates.
* Discussed future capital projects and the 2012-13 school year calendar.
* Held an executive session for the purpose of hiring, firing, disciplining and promoting employees.