Gilmer School Board eyes changing drug policy
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Mar 22, 2014 | 1016 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Gilmer School Board on Monday night discussed changing the punishment for students in extracurricular activities who test positive in a random drug test—a plan which will be submitted to Texas Assn. of School Board attorneys for their approval.

The potential new plan, which would take effect next school year, would allow such pupils to practice such an activity, but not play in a contest until they pass a drug test. They would also be retested every three weeks for the rest of the school year.

Under current policy, said Albritton, the school notifies parents of a student’s first violation. A second offense triggers a 30-day exclusion from extracurricular activity, and under the proposed new policy, if the offender doesn’t accept counseling within 30 days, he or she can’t return to such activities.

Refusal to take a drug test also results in a 30-day exclusion from extracurricular activities, he said.

“We’ve not contacted local (law enforcement) authorities” about cases involving students and drugs, but GISD has handled such matters with a policy designed to “rehabilitate the kid,” not punish him, Albritton added.

On Tuesday, he told The Mirror that only about two youngsters in extracurricular activities had tested positive in random drug testing in the last four years.

In other business Monday, the board raised breakfast and lunch prices effective with the 2014-15 school year.

Student and staff breakfasts will increase 25 cents each--students’ to $1.50, and the staff’s to $1.75. Guests’ breakfasts will rise by 50 cents, to $2.

Lunches at all campuses will rise 10 cents for students, 25 cents for adults. The new prices are $2.35 for elementary and intermediate pupils, $2.60 for junior high and high school students, and $3.50 for adults.

Albritton noted that “39 percent of our people are participating in government assistance” in paying for meals throughout the year.

In other business Monday, the board renewed its property/casualty insurance coverage (including liability) with TASB for $87,367, which GISD Business Mgr. Beverly Grimes said was about $4,000 more than last year. However, the school has more coverage, she said.

TASB only covers school districts, she noted.

The board also received a discount on GISD’s worker’s compensation insurance by renewing it with Claims Administrative Services for three years at a total cost of $70,000. Mrs. Grimes said the firm offered a 10 percent (approximlately $7,000) discount for extending coverage for three years rather than one.

In other business, trustees:

--After a closed session, renewed the contracts of all current school principals and hired teachers on term contracts, Albritton said.

--Canceled the May 10 School Board election, which state law allows when such elections are uncontested.

--Approved adding to the student handbook a ban on students’ use of “e-cigarette” devices, which emit vapor that looks like smoke. Albritton said their use has become “prevalent.”

--Approved the school calendar for 2014-15, which the superintendent said is virtually identical to the current one and which sets Aug. 25 of this year as the first day of class.

--Authorized a trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the Bruce Junior High School band and the school’s AVID class.



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