The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 28, 2013

Stepping forward

Drug testing students who participate in extra curricular activities, drive to school, a great idea

— Raleigh County’s School Board has placed a plan that would allow for random drug screenings for secondary school students who participate in extra curricular activities and those that drive to school out for 30 day public comment.

We believe this is a bold way to address drug and alcohol problems at a much younger age and it will help set a positive tone for future generations.

While making it a point to say that students who just attend school won’t be subject to the policy, which is a right provided to every child, the plan does set forth a testing policy for those that do opt to play athletics, perform in the band or choir, belong to clubs and organizations, and drive themselves to school, all privileges.

West Virginia’s problems with substance abuse is well documented and has become a focal point for our elected leaders.

While many citizens claim they can’t find a job, the facts show that jobs are available and in many instances employers aren’t being able to fill those positions because they can’t find any “clean” candidates, people who aren’t abusing drugs and alcohol.

Folks, does it really get any sadder than that?

Kids entering the sixth grade, 11 and 12 year olds, will find themselves in the position where they have to choose. Starting these random drug tests at this early age, as we said before, truly sets the stage and sends the message — if you want to take advantage of the privileges in life then you need to stay clean.

We are in a battle to save lives, to save generations.

For those in their 20s and older, the chore is that much more difficult.

But for our kids we are establishing guidelines and doing something that can lead to meaningful change for this generation and all those to come.

Many members of the local business community and Chamber of Commerce have been clamoring for this and have pledged their financial support and backing. They’ve seen that light.

Failures of the past should generate successes for the future.

This is a huge step in the right direction.