Plainwell begins drug testing students leaving Portage Central left to find where they stand


Bridget Doyle, Co-Editor in Chief

In 2002, the court case of the Board of Education v Earls swept the nation. This case upheld the random drug testing of students who participate in non-athletic extracurricular activities. While this case was huge on a national level, it hasn’t been locally enforced, until now.

On Dec. 20, 2019, the Plainwell Board of Education approved a new drug testing policy. This policy only applies to the district’s high school students. 

“This policy allows for tests of students’ urine for nicotine, marijuana, opioids and other drugs such as methamphetamine,” said MLive.

The idea for these tests was created to combat the rise of vaping. The principal of Parchment, Jeremy Wright, sees the tests as a reason to have kids say no to drugs and to escape peer pressure.

The drug tests will be conducted once a trimester. 10 percent of females and 10 percent of males who are in extracurricular activities will be chosen at random for drug testing. For student-athletes, if they are tested positive, they are suspended from 50 percent of the competitions. If they are tested positive twice, they are suspended for the whole year. If it is three times, they are suspended from sports indefinitely. If those students are in clubs like the National Honor Society, they will be suspended permanently on the first offense.

Many parents expressed concern about this new procedure. However, all students involved in activities are required to have a parent sign a release form allowing their kids to be tested at any time.

With all the changes in other districts, it’s hard not to think of where Portage Central will stand in the way of things. However, Principle Eric Alburtus announced that the school will not be changing its policies on drug testing.

“If the policy were to discourage students from engaging in athletics and activities, that would be my worry,” said Alburtus.

Alburtus respects the decisions of the other schools knowing that the drug epidemic can be hard to control. However, student accessibility to clubs and sports is a cornerstone at Portage Central.

Policies are changing along with environments, but as of today, ours will stay the same.




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