School

Drug Testing and Advertising Hot Topics at School Board Meeting

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By Dave Freneaux

Monday's Central Community School Board meeting was dominated by discussions of drug testing and advertising.  Much media coverage has been given to Central in neighboring Baton Rouge media over the drug testing being done in Central schools.  One parent of a CHS student requested to address the issue with the School Board.  She is in favor, as was everyone who spoke at the meeting, of drug testing as a way to ensure the safety of the children of Central.  Her objection was over the use of hair sampling instead of urinalysis to conduct the drug tests.  She also pointed out technical flaws in the paperwork used to authorize a few of the tests.
 
Athletic Director Sid Edwards, who has been put in charge of overseeing the drug testing, shared that if one child in central uses illegal drugs, Central has a drug problem.  He further acknowledged that a few of the permission slips were incorrectky worded, but that the vast majority of the tests were done without flaws.  With over 250 students having been tested, only five tests were returned positive.  All students involved in optional and voluntary extra-curricular activities are required to submit to the drug testing program.
 
With the issue at hand being whether hair sampling was to be used for drug testing, School Board Member Starns pointed out that the School System does not have a policy clearly stating that hair sampling is the method to be used.  As such, the Board voted to temporarily suspend drug testing for only the length of time required to have the policy reviewed and updated and to ensure that all drug testing is done in strict accordance with policy.  Indications were that the review and reinstatement of the policy would take only a matter of weeks.
 
In the matter of advertising and in light of an offer made to all School Board Members and the Superintendant by this newspaper, CentralSpeaks.com, for the Central Community School System to receive free advertising, School Board Member Starns had requested details of all advertising money spent by the System over the past three years.  Over that time period approximately $26,000 had been spent with the Advocate for required legal notices because the Advocate is the School System's official journal.  Additionally, somewhere near $45,000 appears to have been spent on optional advertising with the Central City News.  Mr. Starns shared that about $15,000 of this money went to purchase advertisements in an effort to inform the public about the two tax elections in support of new school construction.  Starns' tough questions came regarding the remaining $30,000 of adveritising done since the tax election was held 16 months ago.
 
The question was asked by the public as well as Mr. Starns as to why the School System was paying to advertise information which appeared to news which should be of interest to local media without having to pay for advertising.  In addition, the Central Community School System has paid to advertise several public bids in the Central City News.  The cost to advertise these bids for three weeks in the Advocate where they are required to run is approximately $180.  The same ads which appeared in the Central City News were billed at a total of $1,350.  Other concerns raised were over several ads which were seemed to have been double billed by the Central City News. The School Board passed this issue on to the finance committee for review and recommendation back to the Board.
 
In subsequent conversations with Mr. Jenkins of the Central City News and the Finance Director of the School System CentralSpeaks.com confirmed that the billing discrepencies have been resolved and that on overpayment of $1,500 would be credited to the School System.

13 Comments

  1. Retaliationscaredcuzilivencentral

    September 16, 2010 at 10:14 am

    So if the school board has not signed off on this but it was implemented anyway…who gave this authority to gather this evidence with out a warrant? and do these minors get their hair samples back from this lab? What will be done with this evidence? Am I the only one who realizes what DNA can be extracted, info. kept and cataloged to be sold to others at a later date, employers can go on line, do a search and not hire people based on this gathered information?(using whatever excuse they need to not hire you and you never know it was because of what was found via DNA) Oh and has anyone followed the money, going from $4.00 urine samples to $42.00 hair samples times 250 students = $10,500 and a couple hundred students still to be tested AND the monthly testing that goes on through out the school year? (you are looking at approx. $20,000 to $30,000) I did not think Central had that kind of money to spend.
    Even adults are not required to do hair analysis for a job. I have a thought, when an idea comes up, ask yourselves if the school board members, faculty and staff would stand for their employer to come in with scissors and start cutting.
    Also, how is it that it is against the Civil Rights for Welfare parasites to NOT be drug tested by urine or any other means but minors who have no say can be tested?
    The agreed avenue was urine analysis not hair/DNA!

  2. Retaliationscaredcuzilivencentral

    September 16, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I do not understand why my comments were censored. I was not disrespectful nor did I use any inappropriate language.

    So if the school board has not signed off on this but it was implemented anyway…who gave this authority to gather this evidence with out a warrant? and do these minors get their hair samples back from this lab? What will be done with this evidence? Am I the only one who realizes what DNA can be extracted, info. kept and cataloged to be sold to others at a later date, employers can go on line, do a search and not hire people based on this gathered information?(using whatever excuse they need to not hire you and you never know it was because of what was found via DNA) Oh and has anyone followed the money, going from $4.00 urine samples to $42.00 hair samples times 250 students = $10,500 and a couple hundred students still to be tested AND the monthly testing that goes on through out the school year? (you are looking at approx. $20,000 to $30,000) I did not think Central had that kind of money to spend.
    Even adults are not required to do hair analysis for a job. I have a thought, when an idea comes up, ask yourselves if the school board members, faculty and staff would stand for their employer to come in with scissors and start cutting.
    Also, how is it that it is against the Civil Rights for Welfare parasites to NOT be drug tested by urine or any other means but minors who have no say can be tested?
    The agreed avenue was urine analysis not hair/DNA!

    • dave

      September 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      Retaliation: I take serious exception to your claim of censorship. It DOES seem that you double-psosted. I am speculationg your browser did not allow your post to appear and you ASSUMED it had been disallowed. I never remove a post withou communicating with the author and giving them a chance to support their claim or find an appropriate way to express their opinion.

      CMay09: I removed a comment of yours that fell outside of the guidelines and sent you an e-mail inviting you to support your assertions or restate your issue in acceptable terms. I have not had a response back from you.

      People, it is not the philosphies being espoused that I am challenging. It is the examples used and the insinuations presented that get sent back to you for clarification or support. Make your philosophical argument as much as you want, but keep it a true discussion of philosophy.

      Dave

  3. cmay09

    September 16, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I too have been censored here, but at least your comment was posted. I think that if the activity is voluntary, then so should the test. I know it is a rule, but everyone has an opinion and none are wrong unless they violate other’s rights. I raised some of these same points on The Advocate site, that the screen could be used against children in the future, just like incriminating pics on social networking sites. It really bothers me that people these days are seemingly not allowed to make their own decisions in life. Yes, some people screw up really bad, but life is not fair and there is not one single rule or law that has ever been written that can change it. People in this country used to fight for rights, now it seems they only fight to remove them. I fear for this nation and this city, but apathy is a very powerful thing. “Protection” helps no one, it is simply a tool of control under a false pretense. And anyone who is supposedly against “helping children” is torn apart by the masses, but always with the same arguements that are parroted through the media. Seems no one can think for themselves… for fear that they not fit in.
    Those welfare parasites will NEVER be tested, because they are already where the government wants them, under control. Whenever someone pays you or basically farms you to say, vote a certain way, then you are under their control. Because if you did not follow instructions, your money could be cut off. Who really believes slavery is dead? It is alive and well here today, and most give into it blindly under the guise of protection. When will we WAKE UP and realize where we are and how we got here?

  4. Retaliationscaredcuzilivencentral

    September 17, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Read this recently. It was taken from a much longer piece but to me this sums it all up and makes many of my points: “Nonemancipated Minors are under the instruction of their parents but actually once, it is my understanding, they leave to attend school they are then under the control of the school…”
    ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!

  5. Retaliationscaredcuzilivencentral

    September 17, 2010 at 10:54 am

    In all fairness I should put the whole quote: ” Nonemancipated Minors are under the instruction of their parents but actually once, it is my understanding, they leave to attend school they are then under the control of the school and we all have an expectation for them to provide a safe environment for our children to learn.”
    This is what those who think the government is there to be the parent and provider thinks. Incredible!

  6. cmay09

    September 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I sent a revised post back to you. Removing some of the areas you found questionable, it was never reposted. But philosophically speaking, sometimes Centralspeaks does not allow Central to speak. If I were to offend someone, THEY should be the ones to attack my position. It doesn’t matter much anyway, because free-speech zones are becoming more popular everywhere these days. This site is no different, simply because I made a comment that is not “politically correct” and I did actually say that I meant no disrespect before said comment. If my comment would have been posted, maybe it would have given someone the chance to research my points for themselves. I don’t see any footnotes or sources on any of these articles, so I guess they could be mere speculation also? If we are gonna split hairs, let’s get to it. ALL articles or comments should list sources. How far can we go with this?

    • dave

      September 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Cmay09

      Going to have to respectfully disagree on several points.

      First, I have unapproved only one of your posts. If you attempted to re-post a modified version, which I offered for you to do, I have not seen it. I just searched through all posts and found none like that. Feel free to repost what you can substantiate.

      Philosophically speaking, I would welcome a panel of three involved and responsible Central citizens of your choosing to meet at my office. You and I can watch in silence as they read each post I have disallowed, the e-mail to the author that I sent explaining why it was disallowed, and the email offer I have made to EVERY disallowed post for them to correct the deficiency and repost. I assure you that at the end of the session each one will agree with my decision.

      You know the old saying, “Free speech does not give you the right to stand up in a crowded theater and yell FIRE!” I say it this way: Just because I have the right to say something, does not make it right to say. Me saying that I “Mean no disrespect” does not give me carte blanche to disrespect. I have articulated a few “rules” if you will, for posting here. In a nutshell, private citizens who have not made themselves public figures cannot be called out by name here, if you post something as a “fact” without support, I reserve the right to suspend your post until you support your claim of fact. The posting of inflamatory or sensationalistic “questions” solely for the purpose of calling something into question without support will not be allowed. I am not claiming you have done any of these in particular, but I did contact you and I have not seen a modified post.

      Lastly, I publish this site and the newspaper as a second job, and NO NEWSPAPER presents its articles as “reseach papers” with footnotes and citations. That would be a physical impossibility on the very face of it. I am new to “Journalism”, but I feel that a newspaper must earn the respect of its readers by demonstrating a consistent attempt and large degree of success in being unbiased and factual, allowing the readers to make their own decisions based on the independent reporting of the news. Feel free to weigh in as to whether I have earned your respect in this way.

      CMay09, you are by far the most prolific author of posts on this site, especially in the forums. I have given you almost completely unrestricted freedom to post. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is the first of probably 100 or more of your posts that i have sent back to you for reconsideration. Right? I do not find my track record to be one of censorship. Do you, really? And CMay09, if you are honest with yourself you will admit that I allow a great deal of posting on this site that you KNOW I do not agree with, especuially the ones that bash me and what I do, yet I leave them there in the name of free speech.

      Your comments are welcomed and I look forward to your future posts.

      Dave

  7. Mike Mannino

    September 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Folks,
    This is one thing I will defend Dave on 110%. ANYTIME he has a problem with a post, he has contacted me for clarification or my permission to remove. No evidence he is editing anything.

  8. Debbie

    September 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Me too.

  9. Retaliationscaredcuzilivencentral

    September 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I realized that, later when it showed up and did not know how to delete it. Sorry for the false accusation.

  10. Central4life

    September 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Dave, I think you are doing a great job publishing this newspaper but I’d like to know why you have to ask Mike Mannino for permission to remove a post? It seems that Mike has an opinion for every article, of which he certainly has a right to do so and I did not know that he was the owner of the paper. I am not attempting to pick a fight, I am just curious. As for the drug testing which first attracted my attention to this article, I agree that it does seem extreme for these children to be required to submit to hair testing but I am thrilled at the outcome of the testing. As a mother of a child that has been challenged with drugs all of his life, it is a joy to see that my faith has been restored in the system.

    • dave

      September 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      Fair question. Here is my stand. I have “rules” such as not allowing private citizens who have not held themselves out as public figures or gotten involved in a discussion to me named and brought into question in a post. Example: You can’t just say “John Doe plumber is a disreputable business owner.” But you can say “Councilman X was unprepared for the meeting and wasted our time.” Also, no asking malicious or inflamatory “questions” just to slur someone, like “Don’t you think it odd that Jane Smith got her zoning approved and her uncle is on the school board?” Finally, no racism or unacceptable language, and if you state something as a fact, be prepared to back it up or I will delete it if I know it is false. (Side note – The only one I do not protect from malicious questions and lies is me. I will respond and set the record straight, but I feel if I delete the things said about me and this newspaper I will compromise my integrity by appearance. The usual lie or innuendo is that anyone other than my family owns CentralSpeaks.com or that someone funds our efforts on the side or that anyone can influence what we print. Just not happening.)

      I then have a policy about Freedom of Speech. Except the rules above, I pretty much have to allow everyone to give their opinion or the site is no more than propoganda and not a true forum. So, when people stray from what I feel is constructive debate and start getting personal and are potentially just worsening an already unhealthy climate, I try to derail the argument. I privately text, email or call each participant and ask their permission to remove their comment. They always agree to do so because once they look back on it they see that while they may have spoken honestly, it just did not further anyone’s cause or help Central mature and move forward, and it did not solve the argument. I also sometimes have people call me and ask me to remove comments they wish they had not made.

      So, in answer to your question, I don’t ask just Mike, I simply don’t remove ANYONE’s post without asking permission. I am basically giving all of them the opportunity to reconsider a remark I believe they would rather not have made. Probably done so 15 or 20 times in the past 6 months. Fair enough? By the way, if you want to know whose family owns the paper, stop by the office any Thursday morning at about 5:00 AM and help us unload 12,000 papers and bag and label 8,156 of them to take to the post office. Only takes about 2 hours….and I have not seen Mannino there yet.

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