August 21, 2014
Steroids dropped from drug-testing program
For the past decade or more, school administrators across the country have been on the lookout for student athletes who might be taking steroids to enhance their performance. However, in Hannibal steroids are being dropped from the list of drugs for which random screenings will be looking.
“We’ve talked to the people who do the screenings for us and they said with the use of steroids in decline they don’t see testing for steroids as a necessity any more,” said Clint Graham, director of activities for the Hannibal public school district.
THF Comment: within the past two weeks, a national survey was released by Partnership for Drug Free Kids showing that ADMITTED use of steroids by high school kids is at record high levels. HGH use has doubled over the past two years! Yet school officials think it’s going down?
While steroids are being dropped, a “couple of additional tests” have been added, bringing the total number of items being checked for to 12, according to Graham.
This is the first revision to the district’s random drug testing program since 2008, when screenings were initiated in Hannibal.
“It had not been reviewed for several years,” said Graham, noting the decision to change the program came out of a district administration team meeting.
At the July Board of Education meeting, Graham reported the cost of the screening program is $5,600 annually. District administrators feel that investment into the health and well-being of students is more than worthwhile.
“We want to make sure kids are being smart and safe,” said Superintendent Susan Johnson to the Board of Education in July. “We also want to help families because often parents are not aware their children are taking these substances.”
Each month a total of 10 students – seven at the high school and three at the middle school – are randomly selected for testing. Students involved in either a school district sanctioned extracurricular activity, or who want to park on school district property, are subject to testing.
A letter is sent to the family of any student that is selected for testing. A follow-up letter is sent only if a positive test for a substance shows up. In addition to the second letter, Graham said he personally contacts the student’s home.
It was noted that last year’s testing turned up two positive tests for marijuana. District protocol regarding the notification of the families was followed in each instance.
Drug screening is not mandated by the Missouri Legislature, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or the Missouri State High School Activities Association.