Drug testing for all WLV staff proposed

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By Alice Wagoner

Teachers, staff and athletes would all be subject to drug testing by West Las Vegas Schools under proposals discussed by the WLV Board of Education during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting.

Board member Ambrosio Castellano, who asked in March that the topic be added to the April agenda, asserted that working in the schools means individuals are functioning in safety-sensitive positions.
He said he attended a National School Board Conference in San Antonio, Texas, where an insurance provider presented an opioid forum on the epidemic among teachers.

Castellano cited a poll conducted among teachers which found that 35 percent of them said that their stress level was very high, and were coping by taking antidepressants or other medications.
“In light of the recent events of what’s happened at schools, I think that anybody, or any teacher, any administrator who may be using a prescription medication or may be using narcotics, poses a safety threat to the school,” Castellano said.  “If you are on that narcotic or on that medication, and you’re not fully aware or fully coherent as to what is going on in the case of an emergency, that can pose a threat to the students.”

Board member Christine Ludi said she supported Castellano’s proposal.

Before a policy change is made, Castellano said a survey should be conducted of the teachers to get their feedback.

Board Chairman Marvin Martinez said Superintendent Chris Gutierrez would work on the issue.

Also discussed was the adopting of a policy for weapons on campus. Martinez had asked during the March meeting that this issue be added for discussion only.

Castellano expressed his support for persons to be trained in how to respond to certain situations while carrying guns.

He said, “My only comment on the policy itself, if it were up to me and the budget would allow it, I would have somebody trained to carry a firearm in every school. Especially in today’s age. It’s unfortunate, but that’s my true belief."

The Board also recognized the West Las Vegas High School cheer team that recently won the state championship. The 24-member group is composed of freshmen through seniors, and includes two boys. It has won the championship for the last three years.

Board members heard a presentation from Maggie Mejia, the high school principal, who is trying to address truancy, aggressive behavior and substance abuse among the students. 

The Board discussed changing the date of next month’s meeting to May 14. 
In other action Thursday, the Board:
• Approved out-of-state travel for Evangeline Griego to participate as a PARCC ELA reviewer in Bethesda, MD, May 20-24.
• Approved Head Start reports.
• Approved renewing legal services contracts for third year of four-year contract
• Approved the 2018-2019 district calendar.