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Indiana school officials discuss random drug testing for educators following teacher’s arrest for possession

December 16, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Indiana school officials discuss random drug testing for educators following teacher’s arrest for possession

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Several School districts in Indiana are discussing the possibility of implementing random drug testing for teachers following the recent high-profile arrest of a teacher on drug possession charges.

Although Indiana school administrators say drug testing is unlikely for now, Lake Central Schools Superintendent Larry Veracco said he does anticipate further discussions regarding the possibility of implementing drug policies for teachers that involve the random drug testing.

Veracco made the comments following last month’s arrest of a Lake Central High School English teacher Samantha Cox.

The arrest of the 24-year-old educator garnered national attention after a cell phone video taken by a student surfaced showing Cox snorting a line of what appeared to be an illegal substance within a birds-eye view of students.

Police officials said Cox admitted to investigators she’d purchased $160 worth of cocaine before arriving for work. However, Veracco said police found no evidence that the teacher purchased or distributed any drugs to students.

Mugshot photo of Samantha Cox after she was caught on video taken by students snorting an illegal substance inside a classroom

Following her arrest, Cox was placed on paid administrative leave while an internal investigation is completed.

The superintendent told WGN-TV that Cox is entitled to due process while investigators gather all the facts before making a determination.

Cox’s arrest prompted the discussion of enacting new drug policies which would include the random testing of school teachers.

Bus drivers are required to undergo random testing under Indiana law and some districts do require the drug testing of new employees.

Verraco said officials have discussed policies that would also involve the random testing of students who engage in extracurricular activities.

“The board would have to decide which testing method would best put the community at ease,” Veracco stated. “We need to be careful about overreacting. This is the first incident I know of since I’ve been working here, but I do think it is worth discussing.”

Officials with the Indiana teachers union have expressed their apprehension of an overall policy.

“We do criminal background checks, I don’t think we should set the tone that we think people are on drugs. I don’t think that’s something the union would support. It’s never been a problem before,” said GlenEva Dunham, head of the Indiana Federation of Teachers and Gary Teachers Union.

State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said teachers can be tested if schools have probable cause.

“Apparently, the administration did not have reasonable suspicion prior to the incident,” Meredith said.

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