SL board makes drug policy official

SALINEVILLE -The Southern Local school board formally adopted a student drug-testing policy that has been in effect for the past five years.

The school board at this week’s meeting approved the policy on second and final reading.

School Superintendent Tom Cunningham, who was hired in July 2018, said they discovered while the district developed a drug-testing policy implemented in 2014, it was never formally approved by the board.

He said the policy remains unchanged: All high students participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities are subject to random drug tests. If a student tests positive they are banned from participating in 10 percent of their extra-curricular activites, with the penalty increasing to the entire season for a second offense. A third offense means the student cannot participate for the rest of their high school career.

In each instance, the student is required to undergo counseling. “This isn’t about being punitive” but about getting the students the help they need, Cunningham said.

In other action during the meeting, the board approved creating the position of family and community liaison for the Utica Shale Activity and then named McKenna Boals to the job. Boals will work Tuesday through Friday and be paid about $16,000.

Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson said Boals will serve a a quasi-social worker and intervene with students having academic issues and determine if there are also problems stemming from school or at home. She will then work with the necessary parties to solve those problems.

The new position is being funded with a $50,000 federal grant obtained by the district.

Watson also reported Salineville Mayor Linda Adams has agreed to work with him on a project that would require the village to obtain a home through the county land bank program for his students to work on. He said the students, under the guidance of trained professionals, would gut the home and then reframe it and do the plumbing and electrical work as well.

“We’re going t o completely redo the house,” Watson said, adding not only does his students benefit from the first-hand experience, but a once dilapidated house is brought back into use.

A grant has been obtained to purchase the materials, and officials at the the Southfield Energy electric plant being built outside of Wellsville are donating tools and some protective gear, such as hardhats.

There 67 high school students currently in the academy.


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