Oak Creek-Franklin school board approves plan to randomly drug test students

OAK CREEK -- The Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District Board of Education on Monday evening, Feb. 12 voted to approve a plan to randomly drug test certain students. The board policy will take effect in July 2019.

The plan would impact student-athletes, those in co-curriculars and those who park in the school lot -- about 75 percent of the student body. Three board members voted against it, but it ultimately passed.

The vote to approve the measure was the culmination of two very heated public input sessions.

Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District Board of Education

"It's invasive and intrusive to the students. I feel like it's kind of randomly attempting to improve things without really having the evidence in an effective way to get there," said Tom Zeise, parent.

Oak Creek High School

Sheryl Cerniglia ultimately voted for it.

"Bottom line -- it's kids. We have to do something. I don't believe we have a big drug problem in our school, but nobody knows for sure," Cerniglia said.

Kathleen Borchardt voted against it.

"I know it's an issue that we need to deal with, but I don't think we had the information," Borchardt said.

Superintendent Tim Culver said communication to parents and students will come first, and then, they'll find a third party to do the drug testing.

"Our goal isn't to catch kids. Our goal is to dissuade kids from using drugs and alcohol. If they are, let's get them connected to services -- not be part of that -- because it's horrible for adolescent brain development to have nicotine, alcohol or other drugs in it," Culver said.

It could cost up to $10,000 per year, and one board member said he worries it could mean more administrative work.

Superintendent Tim Culver

"I'm hoping that when we get into this, there's not added staff required to implement this thing and keep it going," Mark Verhalen said.

The students will pay the tab. They're already paying a student activities fee -- and this new policy will tack on a buck or two to that fee.