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School District Moves Forward With Student Drug Testing Efforts

The Covington School Board will continue to explore the possibility of drug-testing students involved in extracurricular activites and athletics, its members decided last Thursday. The decision, however, was not unanimous. "I don't feel it is closely aligned with our mission," said board member Krista Powers, the lone vote against moving forward. "Drug use is a huge problem and I don't want our kids doing drugs. I just don't think (drug-testing) will get to the core of solving the problem."

"We can't just sit by and do nothing. Anytime you do nothing, you give your stamp of approval," said board member Jerry Avery. "We have to do something. It's only fair to our children."

Board chairperson Glenda Huff agreed, pointing out that there were sixty-five cases over the past two years involving students and drugs either on campus or in their personal lives. Eight of those instances involved students involved in extracurricular activities or sports. "I'd say we have a problem," Huff said. "I'm for us getting this rolling and getting it started."

Toward the end of the summer the school board instructed district staff to explore the feasibility and possible effectiveness of drug-testing students. Director of pupil personnel Ken Kippenbrock and director of student support services Janice Wilkerson presented their findings to the board last Thursday. Wilkerson noted that there had been very few expulsions involving drug use or possession. Included in Wilkerson's presentation were details on drug-testing alternatives that could include Botvin Life Skills Training, which according to the research provided had a proven track record of significantly reducing student involvement in alcohol and drug abuse as well as smoking. That program would cost around $22,000. Additonally, the staff was tasked with finding programs in the area that would treat students that failed a drug test.

The board was in favor three to one (Huff, Avery, and Mike Fitzgerald for, and Krista Powers against) to have the staff create the language for the drug-testing program which will then be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education for review and will likely have a first reading at the board's October 11 meeting.

Board authorized $170,000 for upgrades to security cameras

The security cameras around Holmes High School are in need of an upgrade, according to Superintendent Lynda Jackson and on Thursday the board authorized the purchase of $170,000 in new equipment for what is being called Phase One of a project that could eventually costs as much as $500,000 - $700,000. There are currently ninety-three cameras located throughout the campus in all the buildings and the new system would call for around 112 - 115 cameras. 

Attendance for first month shows 95% or better, growth in school populations 

Here are the monthly attendance reports for the first month of school:

  • School # of students on average day, average daily attendance percentage (last year's first month stats)
  • Latonia Elementary - 381 97% - (416 96.83%)
  • Glenn O. Swing - 443 96.8% - (400 97.22%)
  • Sixth District - 481 96.83% - (443 96.8%)
  • Ninth District - 373 96.81% - (372 96.53%)
  • John G. Carlisle - 500 97.05% - (471 96.87%)
  • Holmes Middle School - 753 97.18% - (736 97.05%)
  • Holmes High School - 834 94.5% - (791 93.78%)
  • Holmes Alternative - 56 84.19% (39 93.58%)