Is testing every student who enters an athletic event or a school dance for alcohol use a realistic effort?
The Greencastle School Board is considering a policy to use breathalyzer testing of students at extra-curricular events and at school.
Superintendent Bob Green said he has heard interest from parents about testing students at events such as dances, sports events, and particularly the prom. The Carmel school district does alcohol testing, and Green said he was able to ask the Carmel superintendent recently about the program.
"She said it was a good thing," Green told school board members Mike Dean, Barry Fisher, Jack Berry, Barbara Bryan and Mark Kannowski.
The high school already has two breathalyzers, Principal Jim Church told the school board. But whether anyone has been trained to use them was unknown.
And the logistics of using them was also questioned.
"If we do it at a basketball game," Dean asked, "do we do it for the students who don't go to Greencastle, too?"
"No," Green responded. "Carmel has a special entrance that the students go to and they test only their own students."
But Fisher said he was concerned that if students knew they would be tested for alcohol, they might do some other drugs instead.
"We don't want to test for alcohol to the point that kids do something worse," he said.
A breathalyzer can be an important tool, he added, but he was uncertain about sending every student through it.
And if a student tests positive, what is done with that student at that time, board members wondered. Are they handed over to police, or just denied entry into an event, which could put them behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated?
That is part of the issue to consider, Green said.
Bryan added that she has heard that a big concern for parents is alcohol at prom.
Green said he presented the issue for the board's consideration only during their February meeting. He agreed to research it further and supply additional information.
Meanwhile, the school board learned that its corn boilers have been on line for a few weeks after receiving state approval, and heating costs have been declining because of that use.
Green said that as long as corn, which is now at $4.91 a bushel, remains less than $9 per bushel, the school district will save money on heating costs at the high school.
In personnel matters, the board approved:
* Laura Parks as a volunteer assistant coach for high school girls track.
* A leave of absence for Kathleen Wilson.
* The resignation of Audra Millican as noon aide, and the hiring of Jennifer Peckenpaugh as noon aide at Deer Meadow.
* Logan Kuhne as middle school assistant wrestling coach.
* The resignation due to retirement of Melba Thomas at the middle school.
* Hiring Micah Carver as temporary instructional assistant at Ridpath.
In other business, the board:
* Learned that Kristen Field is a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
* Learned that the GMS Science Online Bowl team tied for first place in the state competition.
* Agreed to keep their pay rate for meetings at the current $52, rather than increase it to $62 per committee meeting.
* Accepted a $500 donation from The Wood Group to purchase books for the One Book Project at GHS.
The next session of the Greencastle School Board is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at the Miller Education Center, 522 Anderson St. The meeting is open to the public.