Marion school board approves drug-testing policy

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DONNA HAJEK
The USD 408 Board of Education approved a revised drug policy by a 4-1 vote at its Jan. 13 meeting.

Voting against the policy and revisions was Roger Hannaford III, who said the policy was “out of his comfort zone” and “too far out line” for him to support.

Two board members, Susan Robson and Doug Sharp, did not attend the meeting.

Board member Gene Bowers said the most recent revisions needed to be reworded to incorporate both the policy currently printed in the student handbook and the new policy now being implemented.

Bowers also questioned the part of the policy concerning the consequences if student refused to take the drug test.

Superintendent Gerry Henderson said both policies are already in effect. He noted that school dances, an activity which does not require a grade, will have random breathalyzer testing.

Henderson said “random” also means, “it may not be utilized at every dance.” He said The Consortium would randomly select the number for breathalyzer testing.

All board members agreed the finalized policy would be published in next year’s student handbook.

High school principal Ken Arnhold reported he had received a letter from the Mid-Central Activities Association about the possibility of Marion affiliating with the league in the near future.

“Six schools have asked to be considered,” Arnhold said, and Marion has some “promising and positive feedback” on being accepted.

He said the MCAA board would possibly make a decision at its February or March meeting. Arnold said Hoisington is also likely to join the MCAA.

If accepted, Marion and Hoisington would join Ellinwood, Halstead, Haven, Hesston, Hillsboro, Lyons, Nickerson, Smoky Valley, Sterling and Wichita Collegiate in a 12-team league.

Jerry Smith, defensive coordinator for the Marion High School football program, introduced senior Jason Matz, who has earned all-state honors for Class 3A football. Smith said the Wichita Eagle selected Matz as a defensive back, and the Topeka Capital-Journal picked him for honorable mention in all classes.

Henderson read a letter from Marion Middle School student Kirk Hansen requesting that music, particularly band, not be cut from the school curriculum in this time of budget cuts. Henderson commended the student for submitting the letter and stated that band would not be eliminated as long as he was superintendent.

In other matters:

board clerk Martin Tice reported Marion police officers are making progress in establishing restitution regarding the break-in at Marion Elementary School in December.

Arnhold announced MHS would be hosting a TEEN ITV series on math in February. Other schools participating in the series are Peabody, Herington, Hillsboro and Centre.

Stan Ploutz, MES principal, reported about 70 percent of parents attended a Jan. 6 parent meeting. He also said Big Brother Big Sister volunteers would begin working with students this week.

a draft of the science curriculum was distributed for the board’s February meeting.

the board met in executive session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel, and for 10 minutes to discuss contract negotiations.

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