The Warren County R-III School District discipline committee is continuing discussion on whether or not to implement random drug testing following alleged drug use at Warrenton High School.
At last Thursday's meeting, parent Jill Beedy spoke in opposition to implementing the random drug testing.
"I believe strongly that in a large or small school, drugs should be handled by the police," she said, "not by the school district."
During the November school board meeting, parent John Bradshaw spoke to school board members and district officials about the importance of implementing random drug testing to ensure the safety of students.
Beedy, the parent of a sophomore in the district, said she knows drugs are present, but said nothing had changed from the time she was in high school.
"There was talk of this student group that is forcing kids to do drugs," she said. "The kids aren't scared of this group. How can students be forced to do drugs if they don't have the money to buy drugs? My kids laugh, but we just call those kind of people burnouts.
"I know where and who is using them," Beedy added, "as does law enforcement."
She said she watched Bradshaw's presentation at the November school board meeting via the school district's website.
"We're talking about striking fear into our students and we shouldn't be doing that," she said.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Muzzey said there was still much for the discipline committee to discuss, but commended Beedy for bringing her concerns to the district.
"I feel she was being sincere with her concern and I feel she brought up some good counterpoints for the committee to discuss that may help develop the potential best policy," he said.
Muzzey responded to whether or not he felt it was the district's responsibility to implement random drug testing.
"I think the district has the responsibility to make sure the practices and policies are reflective of community norms and values," he told The Record.
Beedy said one of her main concerns is how the district will ensure that drug testing be random, if implemented.
"How exactly does the school district pick who gets tested?" she asked. "How is the R-III district not held liable for who they choose to test?
"I'm just asking the board to respect all the rights of parents and please consider what is best for all students," Beedy added, "not only in the district, but beyond."
Muzzey said the key to the potential drug testing is that it will be random.
"It will be random through a firm we're contracting with or a software program we're using," he said.
Muzzey said there is a possibility that the district may ask parents to answer a short survey about implementing drug testing.
"I feel very strongly about trying to get parent and community input," he said. "Anytime there's an opportunity to ask parents something, I think it's good that we do."
Muzzey said he believes the discipline committee will take the cost of implementing drug testing into consideration before it presents its findings to the school board.
He said there is no deadline for the discipline committee to make a recommendation, but said should drug testing be implemented, it will be best to do during a natural break in the district's calendar.
"We have a break coming up at Christmas, but we'd be nowhere ready," Muzzey said. "Maybe next summer at the start of the next school year if it can be done quickly.
"If accepted, we'd like to get the information out to parents in the spring," he added.
According to district officials, Beedy was asked to join the discipline committee for its meeting Monday evening, but was not able to attend because of a prior commitment.