School board retires student athlete drug testing policy, loosens cell phone rules at PCHS


The Patriot


The Pulaski County School Board approved two actions this week meant to show students they are trusted to do the right thing.

The board, meeting Tuesday at Pulaski County Middle School, voted unanimously to retire the division’s policy on drug testing of student athletes and to revise the high school’s policy on student cell phone use.

School Superintendent Rob Graham, in his first meeting as superintendent, told the board he and Pulaski County High School Principal Jennifer Bolling had met several times on revising the school’s cell phone policy.

He explained the change in policy would apply to PCHS only and would allow students – some of whom arrive at school as early as 7:15 a.m. – to use their cell phones until 8:30 a.m.

“We’d like to allow them to use their cell phones, which they enjoy doing so they’re not doing other things they shouldn’t be doing,” Graham said.

Students would also be allowed to use their phones during their lunch period.

From 8:30 a.m. until lunch, and from lunch until the end of the instructional day, students’ phones must be turned off, put away and out of sight.

Current policy prohibits students from using their phones at any time during the instructional day.

Graham said the policy change would bring PCHS into line with other schools in the area.

He said rather than policing students about cell phone use and telling them to put phones away, school administrators and security could spend that time building better relations with students.

“This tells students that we trust them to use their cell phones appropriately,” Graham said.

Prior to a vote on the policy change, PCMS Principal Rebecah Smith asked if such a policy change could be implemented at the middle school as well.

Graham suggested, however, that the change be tried at the high school for a year before considering it for the middle school.

Board Chairman Becki Cox also noted the board was considering a policy that applies only to the high school and could not consider a change at the middle school without proposed changes to that school’s policy being brought to the board.

“This change could be something that students at the middle school can look forward to at the high school,” Cox added.

On retiring the policy on drug testing of student athletes at PCHS, Graham said the issue amounts to a matter of student trust as well.

“This would show trust in our students to do the right thing, and that they would rather participate in extracurricular activities than do drugs,” Graham said.

He told the board that he had met with several high school and middle school officials in the county about drug testing for student athletes and the opinion was unanimous to do away with the tests.

Graham noted that PCHS Athletics and Activities Director Scott Vest estimated that 30 student athletes had failed to pass a drug test in the ten years the tests have been conducted.

Graham said eliminating the tests would also be a cost-saving measure for the school.

Ingles District representative Penny Golden noted that other high schools had already done away with the tests.

“I couldn’t find another one that does them,” Graham responded.

In other news, “Snowcones with the Superintendents” begin this month with events in the different areas of the county.

Graham, Assistant Superintendent Sarah Polcha and Dr. Tara Grant, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction will be on hand to meet with countians who have children in the school division in grades K-12.

The schedule for the events include:

Monday, July 17 – Fairlawn Baptist Church

Tuesday, July 18 – Dublin United Methodist Church

Wednesday, July 19 – Snowville Fire Station

Tuesday, July 25 – Critzer Elementary

Thursday, July 27 – Pulaski Elementary

All meetings begin at 7 p.m.

  • There will be an 11- and 12-month Employee Picnic at the Claytor Lake Baptist Camp at noon on Friday, July 21. It will be catered by Delaney’s Kitchen in Fairlawn.
  • New Teacher Orientation will be held in the Jeff McCoy Theater at PCHS Aug. 1 and 2.
  • The school system’s annual Convocation will be held Friday, August 4 at PCMS.

Glenn Insurance web copy