Zionsville Times Sentinel

Local News

June 11, 2014

Privacy concerns rise over RDT proposals

After members of the Zionsville Community School Board of Trustees and members of the audience at the Monday, June 9, ZCS board meeting discussed the use of the ALEKS math system for three hours, the conversation turned to the proposed instatement of random drug testing at Zionsville Community High School.

Initial conversation began with changing the wording of the proposal. The word "driving" was removed from the proposal, which now specifies that students who will be "parking" at school must be tested.

According to the proposal, RDT would be required for students involved in sports and other extracurricular activities, as well as those who have permits to park at school.

The conversation next turned to the privacy and ethical issues of RDT. Many parents like Tamara Smith worried about the effects of drug testing on students interested in extracurricular activities.

According to Smith, extracurricular activities encourage kids to focus on positive behaviors and away from illegal substances. She suggested money that would be spent on RDT be spent, instead, on educational programs or a hotline that allows students to report drug activity.

Members of the Zionsville Students Rights Union echoed Smith's concerns. Matt Noel was the first to speak for the group and suggested programs that introduce students to the "real reality of drugs" and something that is not another "just say no" campaign.

Anna Olsen-Baker cited possible infringement on medical records privacy and confidentiality for students submitted to testing. According to Baker-Olsen if a student is prescribed a medication that would cause them to show positive for illegal substances, they would be forced to show proof of that medication. This would infringe on medical confidentiality, she said. Baker-Olsen also used the example that if a student is suspended from a team or activity because of a positive test, their classmates could easily use the process of elimination to determine drug use.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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