Drug policy on school board agenda

Nov. 12, 2012 @ 07:56 AM

The Sevier County Board of Education will consider a new policy change for a drug-free workplace at its 4:30 p.m. meeting on Monday.

The policy states that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance in the workplace is prohibited, and violators will be subject to discipline, which may include dismissal.

The policy distinguishes that federal and state laws and regulations dictate what falls under the term "controlled substance," and that includes legal drugs that are not prescribed by a licensed physician.

If violators are not dismissed, they may be required to participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program sponsored by an approved private or public institution.

Under the new policy, reasonable suspicion may warrant testing an employee. Reasonable suspicion may result from deteriorating job performance or changes in behavior where the use of alcohol or drugs may be reasonably suspected as the cause. Reasonable suspicion may also result from a specific incident or observation in which the employee appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Any employee who operates Board of Education vehicles or heavy equipment will be subject to random drug testing on a quarterly basis.

Employees who have completed rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol will be required to undergo follow-up testing as a condition of returning to duty. The nature of the testing will depend on the nature of the employee's position and the substance abuse problem.

If the board adopts the policy, employees hired after its adoption must sign an acknowledgment of the policy as a condition of employment.

Also on the agenda for Monday's meeting:

- Maternity leaves, maternity leave extensions, leave of absences, and medical leave of absences

- Use of schools, specifically for basketball practices and games

- Novel requests for the parallel reading list

- Day field trips, including sixth graders at New Center and sixth and eighth graders at Sevierville Middle to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

- Overnight field trips, including Sevier County High School DECA to Nashville