posttrib
COARSE 
Weather Updates

Portage School Board still pondering drug testing

Updated: March 29, 2013 4:00PM



PORTAGE — While random drug testing of Portage Township School Students isn’t a certainty yet, the Portage School Board did weigh some of the pros and cons of screening students for drugs at its Monday night meeting.

“It’s not to catch kids, not to punish kids, but to help kids,” said school chief Ric Frataccia as he told the board about what he calls, “a tool to help kids say no to drug use.”

Board President Cheryl Oprisko expressed her concern over the program, as much about being blind sided by the discussion at the previous board meeting as about making sure the program is designed well.

“It’s not to catch the kids, it’s coming up with a program to help the kids if they’re caught,” she said.

Oprisko also addressed concerns about the potential scope of testing, including adult staff and faculty as potential targets of screening. “Bus drivers are already mandated for testing. What about the other staff,” she asked.

Fellow board member Jessica Baily weighed in on the discussion. “I’m not comfortable passing anything without knowing what the outcomes will be. What do we do with the kids that test positive,” Baily asked.

Frataccia, having met with business and industrial groups who voiced their concerns about job applicants unable to pass drug tests told the board that drug testing will give students, “a more realistic view of the world as they transition from school to work.”

“This may be something the board doesn’t want to pursue. It may not be something that we can even pull off,” Frataccia said in closing.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.