Aiken County School Board member seeks to implement student-athlete drug testing policy

CSRA News

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – An Aiken County School board member is suggesting for the district to start randomly drug testing groups of students.

“If we can prevent one student from getting involved in drugs, developing into something more serious, I think it’s worth it,” said Brian Silas.

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Right now, only Aiken County bus drivers are drug tested randomly but Silas is hoping to change that by testing student-athletes and those in marching bands.

He said, “Could be others but that was the focus right now.”

Silas introduced the testing idea at this week’s board meeting.

He explained, “I wanted other board members to have a chance to read, to investigate, talk to people, talk to their constituents to give them time to look into it before I brought it before the board for a vote.”

The policy would be similar to what other South Carolina school districts have in place. Some studies show extra-curricular participation did not go down where there are drug testing policies.

“One of the biggest benefits with this program that we’ve heard, and you can read about, it gives students an out. It gives them a reason to say no when they’re pressured to use drugs. That’s one of the biggest benefits of it. It’s ‘no I can’t and the reason I can’t is because I want to play my sport,'” said Silas.

Aiken County schools already have strict rules against illegal drug use. Teachers and students can be punished if the rules are broken. The policy Silas would like to see enacted is geared more towards helping students.

He said, “It’s not going to involve law enforcement. It’s not to produce a record to follow that student through their career or when they get done with school. It’s simply to make parents know if there’s a problem so they can be intervened with so that student can get counseling.”

The drug test more than likely would be urine samples according to Silas and student selection would be computerized.

He added, “It’s a random program all done by the district office. It’s not for a cause and it all comes from the district level. And a third party would likely be involved in the testing.”

Silas hopes to bring his drug testing idea back up for a motion at the next Aiken County School Board meeting on August 10 so a policy can be developed. If approved, the policy would also need to be voted on.

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