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Indiana school districts discuss random drug testing

December 15, 2017

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Most school administrators in Indiana say it’s unlikely that districts will conduct random drug tests despite a teacher recently being charged with drug possession.

Lake Central Schools Superintendent Larry Veracco said he does, however, anticipate a discussion of policies for drug testing teachers more often. The teacher arrested last month worked at Lake Central High School.

Indiana law requires districts to randomly test bus drivers. Some districts also drug test new employees, though union officials said they’re weary of an overall policy.

“We do criminal background checks,” said GlenEva Dunham, president of the Indiana Federation of Teachers and the Gary Teachers Union. “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.”

English teacher Samantha Cox, 24, was arrested last month for drug possession after students allegedly saw her with drugs in her classroom. One student also had video of “what appeared to be a teacher ‘snorting’ a line of an illegal substance,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Investigators said Cox told police she’d purchased $160 worth of cocaine before arriving at Lake Central High School. Veracco, the superintendent, said investigators found no evidence that Cox obtained or sold drugs to students. She’s on paid administrative leave while officials finish their internal investigation.

Veracco said Cox is entitled to “due process,” and that the investigation is expected to be completed next month.

Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said schools can drug test teachers “if they have probable cause,” adding: “Apparently, the administration did not have reasonable suspicion prior to the incident.”

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