April 13, 2018
Greetings D127 families and staff,
I’m writing to inform you of changes to the District 127 Extracurricular Code of Conduct and the randomized student drug testing policy. The Extracurricular Code of Conduct defines the expectations that must be followed by all students who participate in extracurricular and cocurricular activities and the procedures followed if a student is found to be in violation of these expectations. For example, students who are found to have used drugs or alcohol may lose
participation privileges for part or all of the school year. Because these procedures are to be reviewed periodically, building and district administration met to revise the Code of Conduct with parents, staff and students over the course of several meetings held earlier this year. The revised Code of Conduct procedures will be implemented in the 2018/19 school year.
On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the District 127 School Board voted to approve additional changes to Policy 7:240: Extracurricular Code of Conduct. Based on the recommendation of the administrative team, the approved policy change removes language mandating randomized drug testing for students involved in athletics and extracurricular activities. This means that the randomized drug testing program for students will be discontinued in 2018/19.
At this time, District 127 is one of the few districts in Illinois implementing a randomized student drug testing program. Historically, randomized drug testing has been one of the ways students have been identified as using drugs and/or being in violation of the Code of Conduct. Starting with the process that led to the revision of the Code of Conduct procedures, the administrative team spent a great deal of time this school year evaluating the effectiveness of the drug testing program.
Specifically, administration considered information both in support of and opposed to randomized drug testing through dialogue with groups of students, parents, and staff. After engaging in these conversations, reviewing new research on the subject, and examining years of historical data, we have found that the randomized drug testing program has not been the primary avenue we use to identify drug use among our students. However, after examining our program as a whole, we are confident in our ability to identify students in violation of the Code of Conduct and provide support without randomized drug testing.
Rest assured that the district will always be committed to promoting the health and welfare of our students. Research unequivocally demonstrates the influence of positive school culture and climate on student substance use and we are proud of the positive culture in this district. We have found that focusing on building relationships between students and trusted adults to be more impactful than drug testing in identifying students in need of assistance.
In addition, we have numerous programs to reduce the prevalence of drug use and promote healthy choices by our students. For example:
- The Student Assistance Program (SAP) coordinates the efforts at each school in the areas of education and prevention as well as supporting students with substance abuse issues.
- The Human Performance Project is a nationally recognized program promoting a message of healthy choices and positive leadership, empowering students to hold one another accountable to decisions that lead to optimal performance.
- Interquest Detection Canine Teams provide a comprehensive detection and deterrence program through the use of highly trained detection canines. Friendly canine teams periodically inspect lockers, gym areas, common areas, vehicles, vacated classrooms, and perimeters of school property.
- Community Youth Network (CYN) is a counseling treatment center in Grayslake that currently provides drug education and treatment services. Their program offers assessment, education, counseling, and early intervention services for students that have been referred for issues such as drug or alcohol use.
In 2018/19, we intend to reallocate resources currently used on drug testing to enhance the research-based programs proven to be effective in reducing substance abuse among our students. Furthermore, we plan to examine other programs that may expand students’ repertoire of stress management skills and positive decision making strategies.
We will continue to work in partnership with our community to promote healthy choices as well as intervention services when necessary. The safety and well-being of the D127 students will continue to be our top priority. If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact me or the building principals, Dan Landry and Jim Roscoe.
Dr. Mikkel Storaasli
Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127