Covington schools students to be drug tested

District students in grades seven through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities and use parking passes will be randomly drug tested under a policy adopted Thursday night.

The Covington Exempted Village School Board voted 5-0 to implement the policy — possibly this fall. Penalties have not been set, of course, but board members said examples could include losing on-campus parking privileges for 30 school days on a first offense, or requiring a member of a team to sit the bench for part of a game or contest.

With parental consent, drug testing of students who have privileges such as sports or an activity is legal in Ohio.

School officials told News Center 7’s Natalie Jovonovich the goal is prevention and not punishment. Superintendent Ken Miller said the change was prompted by an incident involving a prominent athlete at the school.

School Board Vice President Brad Hall said problems in the community also drove the new policy.

“Unfortunately there have been some drug-related issues that have hit very close to home and it is a very real and present problem that has an impact on people’s lives,” Hall said.

The vote enables the district to contract with a company to conduct the drug tests, but that will likely come later because the board adopted the drug policy on the condition the body look into adding educational programs for students throughout the district.

Those two things will have to happen before any district drug testing program would begin.

There are 850 to 900 students in the district, according to the district’s website.