Kettering school district has implemented a new drug screening program that requires a drug test for every new employee before they are hired.
State law requires bus drivers to take drug tests but is silent on the issue for teachers, administrators, nurses and other staff members who work with children. All school employees are required by law to go through background checks for any criminal records.
Ken Miller, director for Human Resource Services, said the new drug screening program for new teachers in will start on Feb. 20 and is part of the strategic plan school officials have developed.
“We will conduct pre-employment screening for all new employees, and this is aligned with our Strategic Plan,” Miller explained. “We want to ensure that we have the most highly qualified staff to provide our students the most engaged staff possible. We want to hire and support and develop the best people we can.”
The district last year released its “Strategic Plan 2018-2024,” which is a blueprint that identifies goals and objectives for the coming years.
There are 12 public schools in Kettering, and the plan reveals that the average teacher in the district has 17 years of experience, while the total enrollment of pre-school through 12th grade is 7,694, and 75 percent of teachers have a master’s degree or better. The district is also one of the city’s top five employers with more than 1,000 full and part-time employees, according to the plan.
The plan has goals in place ranging from the culture of the school to educational achievement levels.
“The goals will stand as a foundation through time, but there should be updates, as needed, so that the plan remains relevant,” said Superintendent Scott Inskeep.
Miller said that is why school officials have made an effort to adopt the new pre-screening drug policy for new employees, because it enables the district to make sure it can hire quality teachers.
“Right now the drug screening for employment involves transportation (bus drivers,) so this new policy is in line on our focus on improving culture and moral,” Miller said. “We want our students to thrive and feel safe in a drug-free school environment.”
He added that there is not a drug screening policy on the books right now for current teachers, but also noted that there has not been an issue with employment problems with teachers related to drug use. The new policy will also have other benefits that include lowering the possibility of workers compensation claims, improve tardiness or absences from work, as well as, eliminated poor performance in the workplace.
“We aren’t experiencing problems with these issue now, but we are trying to be proactive,” Miller said. “I don’t think this will make it harder to find quality employees. It is a safety net to allow us to fund quality employees for our students and community.”