Muskego — Eight out of 10 parents of Muskego High School students favor the school starting random drug testing of students in athletics and co-curricular activities, based on a recent electronic survey.
But students who also were surveyed are less inclined to support it. Not quite half the students responding to the survey like the idea. But at the same time, a large proportion of student respondents, 39 percent, are neutral on the question.
The surveys were emailed to parents of high school and middle school parents, and 508 responded. Surveys also were sent to high school and middle school students' Infinite Campus mailboxes, and 146 students responded.
The comparatively lower student response could be due to students not checking their Infinite Campus mailboxes. In fact, two high school students told the Muskego-Norway School Board last week during its consideration of the survey results that they were unaware of the survey.
The proposed random drug testing program cleared its first reading last week and is headed for the second of three readings at the 7:30 p.m. June 16 school board meeting. If approved in August, the program would be in place by fall.
Although the school board generally favors the program, it didn't want to go ahead without parent and student input.
Board member Dean Strom, who is particularly adamant about getting input, said the survey has been helpful.
"It told me that by and large, the parents are very much in favor of drug testing, and it told me both parents and students say that it wouldn't have very much effect on whether they participate in extracurriculars," he said after the meeting.
Whether drug testing would make students not want to participate in sports or clubs was a key concern.
The vast majority of student respondents, 82 percent, already participate or plan to be active in sports or clubs, and 2 percent don't. Of all the students who responded, 14 percent said drug testing would influence their decision to participate. But 86 percent said it wouldn't making any difference.
That result was echoed in the responses in the parent survey where a large proportion of parents, 87 percent, had children participating in athletics and clubs or planning to participate. An overwhelming 94 percent of parents predicted that a drug testing program would not affect their children's decision to participate.
One survey finding that School Board President Rick Petfalski interpreted as a ray of hope was that one out of four student respondents said they saw another student under the influence of alcohol or drugs at a school event.
"I thought it would have been higher," Petfalski said.
Both students and parents felt that random drug testing would help deter drug abuse, according to the survey. Among the respondents, 73 percent of students and 82 percent of parents predicted it would help. A significant number of students, 29 percent, said it would not.
The majority of parent respondents, 71 percent, said the $10 fee that would be tacked onto the cost of the activity to pay for the drug testing is fine. Another 29 percent didn't like it.
An estimated 750 high school students could be eligible for the proposed random drug testing program. They are in sports or activities such as debate, forensics, drama club, stage crew, prep band, AFS, yearbook, Future Business Leaders of America, DECA, student council, National Honor Society and after-school strength and conditioning.
Once students are in high school athletics or co-curriculars, they could be tested anytime until they graduate.
WHAT: Second of three readings of random drug testing program for Muskego High School students in athletics and clubs
WHEN: Monday, June 16
WHERE: Educational Services Center, S87 W18763 Woods Road
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