KETCHIKAN -- The Ketchikan School Board has voted in favor of random drug testing of student athletes.
The board voted 5-2 Wednesday in favor of random drug testing of middle and high school student athletes in the Ketchikan School District.
During the board's discussion of the issue, student board member Stacy Stone said the policy could help stop drug use among students.
"We need to take a stand and say it's not OK to do drugs," she said.
Board Member Richard Van Cleave voted against the policy because he said the money for drug testing could be better used teaching students not to use drugs.
"We're an educational body, not an enforcement agency," Van Cleave said. He was joined in his no vote by Board Member Anna Annicelli, who said the policy is too negative.
Board Member Susan Walsh said she hopes the administration will include a clause allowing students who voluntarily admit a drug problem to continue to participate in sports.
With the decision to start testing athletes for drugs, Ketchikan joined Sitka as the only two school districts in Southeast to approve testing. Several other districts have considered drug testing, including Wrangell and Petersburg, but they have yet to approve a policy.
Sitka became the state's first district to approve testing last year and it tested about four athletes a week. The Bethel advisory board for that town's schools in the Lower Kuskokwim School District approved testing last year, but the policy was not implemented.