Red Lodge school board approves stricter policy guidelines

Students subject to random drug testing

Demanding more responsibility from students, the Red Lodge school board approved the first read of new, more stringent policy guidelines for the upcoming school term at the July 17 meeting. Detailed in the handbook, additions to policies regarding cell-phone use, off-campus privileges, random drug testing and other student conditions were modified.

The handbook states that students are prohibited from using cell phones, required to follow specific academic criteria for off-campus benefits, and that all Red Lodge students, grades 6th-12th, involved with sports and extra-curricular activities are subject to random drug tests.

Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, board members frequently discussed such issues, as students continued to violate their privileges. Ultimately, they decided a change in policy was needed, and approved the first read of the policy modifications. “The board was in unanimous support with the changes and the student body was involved with originating the policies,” said Superintendant, Mark Brajcich.

One major change, the introduction of drug testing, will randomly select students involved in school activities to provide a saliva sample, and if tested positive, the handbook outlines the penalties for such offenses. Brajcich along with board members looked at a variety of policies from other schools and believes this one, modeled after Columbus School, is the most fitting to thwart the problem and encourage positive behavior.

“We’ve had more training rule violations in the past three years than previous years, and we felt we needed to tighten things up. Our hope is that students participating in activities are in the best shape and condition when representing the school,” Brajcich explained. After discussion with the RL student council, Brajcich said there is widespread support for the new policies and believed it will not have a major affect on student participation.

“Districts that have done it [drug-testing], have found that it also helps give students a reason to not partake,” Brajcich said. Such policies listed in the handbook to date are still subject to changes and are not officially policy yet, as the second reading will be held at the board meeting, Aug. 15. Guidelines for other policies regarding plagiarism, dress code, and community service requirements were also detailed and modified.


Student Drug Testing

Every student should be required to drug test. If there is a zero tolerance policy. Enforce it. Make it a "school supply".

While many, many adults in this county may feel it is okay to use recreational drugs, and it is certainly legal to partake in drinking, it is illegal for children under 21 to use either. I do believe if you are old enough to go to war, you are old enough to make adult decisions and drink, however, while attending publicly funded school - you will not do drugs or drink.

Our children have a better chance at life, if we uphold our end of the requirements as a school board, educators, parents, extended family, a community, the mayor, city council and business leaders.

Random testing is fine for financial reasons when there is a student body of 1,600. Why not apply the drug testing to all students. It's possible. Help to save kids & invest in them - not just buildings and multiple locker rooms.

Yes, role modeling is supposed to be done at home but schools must enforce drug policies just like the workplace - a mine, a medical center, the workplace. Especially a school system in Red Lodge that was built on the backs of us - the tax payer and fellow parents of smaller children.

These kids are using buses, received new uniforms, new computers, amazing educational tools - education is a privilege, smoking pot is serious even if adults in Carbon County have relegated it to a new normal.

Many, many kids are following the new "trend" and won't even see their 18th birthday - they'll pull off the football field or volleyball team and end up delivering pizza or waiting tables and living in poverty with every last dime going to a dealer. You amp that up to meth, you have serious violence and home invasion.

Alcoholism, drug use and abuse destroys the chance for children to become anything, leads to teen motherhood and teen fatherhood (parents, you get to pay for that & raise new babies), death by suicide, death by car accident, the inability to read/write/do math, leads to violence in relationships, leads to date rape and sexually transmitted disease, death by overdose, violent and non-violent crime in the community and the list goes on.

As adults, we all know what alcoholism and drug abuse adds up to in our adult lives. Nothing good. Divorce, broken homes with children, unemployment, DUI, bankruptcy, violence, unproductivity, poverty, use and overuse of the welfare system . . .

You want to throw a ball under the Friday night lights, cheer, participate in volleyball, speech and debate, dine in front of the beautiful fireplace at lunch, enjoy the luxury of team buses and teachers that put in more than a full day to teach you - pee.