State News Roundup
The Tennessee board of education has issued guidelines for implementing a state law allowing school districts to test students for illegal drug use.
Officials of the 12 districts that plan to test next fall had been waiting for the guidelines before organizing their programs.
Under the guidelines, a principal may order a student to undergo a test if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that school policy on drug or alcohol use has been violated. This can include "the smell of alcohol or marijuana smoke about the student," evidence obtained from a personal or locker search, or reported drug use on school property.
School principals must receive training from the state mental health department, the agency that is to provide treatment for those found to have engaged in abuse.
Schools may test students' urine, blood, or breath, and must submit samples to a professional laboratory for analysis.
The guidelines also require that parents be notified of positive test results. If results are negative, all records of the test must be destroyed.
At least 59 districts have said they do not plan to test for drugs.
New Hampshire needs to do more for needy children, argues a new coalition of doctors, lawyers, legislators, and social workers in the state.
The New Hampshire Alliance for Children and Youth will lobby in the legislature for increased funding, produce annual "scorecards" on legislative activity, and promote public awareness of the need to enhance the programs, according to Steven Kairys, a pediatrician at the Dartmouth Medical School and president of the group.
The Concord-based alliance will focus on education, health, mental health, welfare, and juvenile justice, Dr. Kairys said.
After more than 10 years of rapid growth, public-school enrollment in Utah will soon level off and then decline, according to the Utah Foundation.
Enrollment grew 1.5 percent this year, compared with annual growth of more than 3 percent during most of the 1980's, the foundation said.
The slowdown could ease financial pressures on schools, the foundation said, noting that the state lost ground against the national per-pupil spending average over the past decade, even though its expenditures rose faster than the rest of the nation's.
Still, secondary enrollments, where costs are higher than in elementary grades, will continue to rise until the mid-1990's. So "Utah will still be faced with some financial problems, even after total enrollments in the state begin to decline," the report predicted.
Vol. 08, Issue 15