Kingsport City Schools looking into randomly drug testing some students

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education is planning a public hearing to discuss randomly drug testing students.

The board has been looking into this for several years.

At the last board meeting, they heard a presentation of how other school systems have implemented this kind of policy, and now they want to hear what the community thinks about it.

For Gabby Chander, tennis is a passion.

“I love it. I absolutely love it. I’m a sports person,” Chandler said.

She’s a junior at Dobyns-Bennett High School, playing on the junior varsity team.

It’s an activity that could fall under a new policy, if adopted by the Kingsport City School Board of Education.

“We’re always thinking about, what are the things we can do that is providing healthy environments for students,” Assistant Superintendent Andy True said.

The board is exploring the topic of randomly drug testing students grades 9-12 who are involved with voluntary extracurricular activities.

“The code is specific that voluntarily extracurricular activities is the scope of student that can be randomly drug tested,” True said, referring to Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4213.

True added that this would be a way for them to provide a deterrent to initial drug use, and then provide support to students who may be using.

Gabby Chandler tells us, she’s on board.

“A person, you know under the influence of drugs, not only effects just this one person. It effects the whole team,” Chandler said.

Chris Maupin’s son is on the DB baseball team.

“I have no problem with my son being drug tested. If he does make a mistake, I would rather learn about it early,” Maupin said.

But he wishes the law could go further.

“It’s my thoughts that it’s great that you’re looking at kids that are in extracurricular activities but my thoughts are why do you just look at kids in extracurricular activities. We should be looking at every student,” Maupin said.

If this moves forward, it would be up to the school system to determine the scope of testing, the level of funding, and what extracurricular activities are included.

That public hearing is set for next Tuesday April 17 at 6 p.m. at Kingsport City Schools headquarters downtown.

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