Valdosta Daily Times

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April 25, 2013

Valdosta school board debates drug testing student athletes

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Board of Education discussed the possibility of drug testing student athletes.

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, city school board members mulled the merit of a policy to test student athletes for un-prescribed narcotics, an item on which board member Bill Love reasoned was in the spirit of student health.

“In the state of Georgia, there are school systems that drug test student athletes for one reason and for one reason alone — that’s for the safety of these athletes,” said Love. “There are a lot of arguments for and against it and I’d like to see what some of the benefits have been and how it affected those athletes. Secondly, when these athletes go to NCAA, they will be tested ... You need to start teaching them that this won’t be an option. It will be part of their routine. It’ll be part of their scholarship.”

Board member Warren Lee reminded board members of the obligations and negative affects associated with drug testing school athletes, offering brief commentary after Love’s appeal.

“You have to be careful when you start looking at testing students and not testing teachers,” said Lee. “I have no objections to the superintendent to exploring how it works for other schools. But we know, too, that everything that works in other districts won’t necessarily work here at home in Valdosta.”

While board members were far from taking action on a drug-testing policy for student athletes Tuesday evening, the board acted on thanking  26 retirees for the service to the school systems and the community.

School board members recognized Lilly Calhoun, Southeast Elementary, for 36 years of service; Carrie Carter, Newbern, 11 years of service; Barbara Crosgrove, J.L. Lomax, 18 years of service; Eloise Culp, Pinevale Learning Center, 41 years of service; Barbara Gator, Southeast Elementary, 16 years of service; Deborah Green, W.G. Nunn, 31 years of service; Belinda Griffin, school nutrition, 28 years of service; Diane Harrell, central office, 17 years of service; Maurice Harvin, Valdosta Early College Academy, 36 years of service; Kate Linehan, S.L. Mason, 20 years of service; Blondie Manning, W.G. Nunn Elementary, 34 years of service; Betty McCowan, Valdosta Middle,16 years of service; Bobby Merriman, Central Office, 16 years of service; Gary Mims, W.G. Nunn Elementary, 32 years of service; Carolyn Moore, W.G. Nunn Elementary, 12 years of service; Nancy Morris, S.L. Mason, 19 years of service; Gnann Moser, Valdosta High, 31 years of service; Jaquelyn Offutt, Southeast Elementary, 29 years of service; Linda Peyton, W.G. Nunn Elementary, 31 years of service ; Marie Perry, S.L. Mason, 26 years of service; Lisa Soughter, W.G. Nunn, 11 years of service; Chryse Thomas, W.G. Nunn, 31 years of service; Debra Tomlinson, Valdosta High, 25 years of service; Jordan Moore, Valdosta High, 21 years of service; Wanita Wright, transportation, 24 years of service; and Karen Zahniser, Valdosta High, 29 years of service.

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