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MURRAY KIDS MAY BE IN FOR DRUG TESTS

The Murray School Board is considering drug tests for students.

The proposal would allow random testing of students in all extracurricular activities and would require students who are suspected of using drugs or alcohol to submit to the tests.Murray would be among the first Utah districts to implement such a policy allowed under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer.

The proposed policy was up for a first reading and discussion at Wednesday's school board meeting and could be adopted at its next meeting.

Box Elder High in northern Utah had a voluntary drug testing program for athletes until 1993, but it was shelved for fear of lawsuits.

"One of the problems we found was a lot of students suspected of substance abuse do not have the drugs on their person, in their automobiles or lockers because they know the penalty is so severe," said Steve Hirase, director of the district's At Risk programs. "So, we want to change the rules."

Under the proposal, school authorities could send a student for drug testing, at district expense, if there were signs of use or possession, or if there were reports of drug use from "credible sources."

Suspicious or evasive behavior also would be grounds for requiring the pupil to undergo the tests.

Students disputing the results of the tests could request additional tests - at their own expense.

"Before this policy goes into effect, we are going to have teachers go through training so they won't be picking on just anyone," Hirase said.

Violators would be suspended for 10 days, which could be reduced if the student seeks drug counseling. Repeat violators or those caught distributing drugs would face expulsion for a school year.