The Cambrian

School code still evolving

School district trustees are to hear an update tonight, March 11, on a new code of conduct for high school athletes and students participating in some competitive, extracurricular activities.

Even as that report is being prepared by Chris Adams, superintendent of the Coast Unified School District, some aspects of the code are still being tweaked. The “Coast Union High School

Extracurricular Activity Code of Conduct for 2009- 2010” went into effect in October. Among other clauses, the code requires that those signing the document are not to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs during their competitive season.

A handful of students violated the code by the end of 2009, and another in early March, school officials said, while declining to release the exact number because they said it would endanger confidentiality.

Some new code clauses aren’t being enforced yet, however. For instance, students who are caught violating the code for the first time are supposed to:

• Miss two weeks of activities, starting with the date of the confirmed offense;

• Attend a five-week assistance/ counseling program or the school’s drug-diversion program; and

• Take a weekly drug test for six weeks, with all results required to be negative. If any results are positive, that will be considered a second offense.

The drug-testing program hasn’t begun yet because the school has had problems setting up a sample- collection system, according to Adams. The firm that’s supposed to do the testing “is working on getting us a mobile collection service,” because only one local medical office does such collections, and that doctor (Robert Gong) is a member of the school board. Adams believes that would be a conflict of interest.

So, administrators are rethinking the drug-testing policy and requirements, Adams said.

District trustees decided in October not to add to the code random drug testing for all students participating in athletics and competitive, extracurricular activities.

Part of the new code has caused contention between some parents and code enforcers. That clause says students “who attend an illegal activity (drugs or alcohol are being served to minors) are also subject to this policy even if they do not use drugs or alcohol.”

Some parents have said that in enforcing that clause, administrators are extending the school’s sphere of jurisdiction too far, and that it’s not fair to penalize a student who isn’t doing drugs or drinking alcohol the same way you’d punish a student who is imbibing.

While the code is specific, enforcement apparently has been more flexible so far.

Several students identified as having violated that “attending an illegal activity” clause but who were not caught drinking or doing drugs were not required to attend the full five weeks of counseling, according to their parents, nor were the students required to take the drug tests before being reinstated in their sport or activity.