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Greenwood Educators Hear Drug-Testing Report

Greenwood School District Superintendent John Ciesla speaks during a school board meeting Thursday evening, July 10, 2014, as board president Todd Hales listens. PHOTO BY CHAD HUNTERBuy Photo
Greenwood School District Superintendent John Ciesla speaks during a school board meeting Thursday evening, July 10, 2014, as board president Todd Hales listens. PHOTO BY CHAD HUNTER

Fewer Greenwood students were tested for drugs this past school year, but the testing frequency increased, educators were told last Thursday.

The Greenwood School Board was provided a drug-screening report from Assistant Superintendent Kevin Hesslen. He said 378 high school students were randomly tested during the 2013-14 year, resulting in 11 positive results. The two previous school years saw 532 and 531 tests administered with 16 and 24 positive results.

“We were testing so many, it was causing a huge disruption to the school day,” Hesslen said. “We were pulling 30 kids out of class at a time. This way, we can pull in fewer numbers, but we do test more often. It’s a more regular test, once a week instead of every other week with these big, big numbers. It’s made it a more manageable process.”

Students at the high school, junior high and middle school who participate in athletics or extracurricular activities are eligible for random drug testing. Students who also drive can be tested.

A total of 7,935 tests were administered over the past decade. A majority of the 159 positive test results were high school related.

“Most of it is still THC, which is marijuana,” Hesslen said. He added that the total number of positive results “can be misleading.”

“Some of those are repeats,” he said. “They have to come back and provide a clean sample before we’ll let them go back into athletics or whatever program they happen to be in.”

Students who test positive for drugs face a variety of consequences that include counseling, school officials said.

Also Thursday, 16-year school board member Mary Ann Sandifer resigned from a post she described as “one of the biggest joys of my life.”

“When God closes a door, he opens another,” she said. “And in my case, he has opened a huge set of new doors with both hands, bigger and wider than I could have ever imagined.”

Sandifer was most recently elected in September to another five-year term.

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