- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A proposal to require Wisconsin high schools to drug test students at the request of their parents could be considered in the coming weeks.

Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch said he plans to introduce the proposal in the Assembly in the next couple months. Kleefisch is revising another proposal that met with some resistance last year from lawmakers and school administrators which would have implemented statewide random drug testing of students participating in extracurricular activities or parking a vehicle on school property.

Kleefisch said the latest proposal should address concerns about mandated statewide testing.

“But, I think with the concerns people have about forced testing, our best approach is to make the parents aware that we will offer an opt-in for parents to have their children tested,” Kleefisch said.

Crivitz is among high schools that already randomly test students for illegal drug use if they participate in extracurricular activities or drive to school. But, it doesn’t honor requests from parents to test their children, according to Jeff Baumann, principal at Crivitz High School.

“In my opinion, if a person is that concerned that their child is doing something they shouldn’t be doing, you can buy drug-testing kits over the counter. That’s what I would do,” said Baumann, a parent of teenagers.

Conversely, De Pere High School honors parents’ requests to have their children tested. Those students are added to the 12 who are randomly picked each week from three groups: students in extracurricular activities, those who have permits to park at school and those on the school’s DREAM Team who pledge to be drug- and alcohol-free. That involves more than 80 percent of the school’s enrollment of more than 1,400 students.

School district administrators want assurances that they will be involved in the discussion of any drug testing proposal.

Damian LaCroix, superintendent of the Howard-Suamico School District, urged lawmakers and legislative staff at a recent forum hosted by Pulaski High School to engage school administrators “as partners in policy development that directly affects our students, our families and our communities.”

“For these types of proposals to be happening in a vacuum, absent our opportunity and the opportunity for local control and school-board members to engage in meaningful policy development, I think represents short-sightedness and will continue to cause this frustration and lack of trust at certain levels that I think presently exist,” LaCroix said.

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