A school district in Wyoming has received approval to move forward with a program to curb drug use among students involved in school activities, but the plan may be stymied over lack of resources.
According to the Gillette News Record , a survey revealed that a majority of parents, staff, students and coaches across the Fremont County School District #1 are in favor of a policy that would submit Lander students involved in activities to drug tests.
However, some are asking whether resources such as substance abuse counseling and evaluations are available to support the effort.
Melinda Cox, who works as both the community mental health grant manager/in-school suspension monitor for the district, is a member of the Lander City Council and acts as a liaison for the city. She said the kinds of resources needed for the policy, which calls for substances abuse counseling and assessment from a professional should a student test positive for drugs and alcohol, simply aren't readily available in Fremont County.
“You’re looking at three to four months [for substance-abuse evaluation],” Cox told the board. “For an adolescent, three to four months is a lifetime. We are very limited in resources in our county.”
According to the News Record, for the first offense, a student would miss five days of practice and be barred from performing in public for 14 days but could resume with written proof of an alcohol/drug-use assessment from a drug counselor. A delay in accessing that treatment could mean kids would be unable to resume sports or other extra-curricular programs for much longer than what’s prescribed in the draft policy.
Cox said it would be good to bring in the county attorney's office, the Lander police chief, and others to the table to further discuss the matter, noting that past student policies were very different.
“This wasn’t something that you were having to discuss 10 years ago, because the juvenile justice system was taking care of it differently,” Cox explained. “Schools are having to become more involved in a system that they once didn’t have to participate in."