Highland High School Principal Proposes Drug Testing Athletes

Monterey, VA – High school principal Kelly Wilmore believes that the Highland schools should start drug testing athletes. He made this proposal to the School Board at its meeting on Monday evening.

“Between us and a couple of the school divisions and the health departments and the Boosters; we’ve all been trying to team up here some ideas and some policies to bring to you and also get some funding to do so to go ahead and drug test our athletes” says Wilmore. “We’d like to start it preferably with winter sports. I think we need to do as other counties such as Monroe and just test everybody up front.”

Mr. Wilmore continues the discussion by giving several potential sources of funding to pay for the testing.

“The Booster Club has said they would chip in” he says. “We’re willing to put some money in out of athletics and [School Superintendent] Mr. Nowlin has given his support from the School Board fund if we need a little bit there. I don’t think it will be a whole lot of money. We’re even looking at drug testing our middle school students as well, at least to the eighth grade.”

Mr. Wilmore expects to bring a detailed proposal to the Board before its next meeting. He notes that Bath County High School is currently drug testing athletes and that this is becoming the norm in school systems across Virginia. Board member Kirk Billingsley suggested that drug testing shows a lack of trust and is a significant invasion of privacy.

Mr. Wilmore noted that athletes are some of the most visible members of the school community and are often role models so they must be held to high standards of behavior. He also suggested that drug testing can be a deciding factor in discouraging drug use among students. Mr. Wilmore expects to bring a detailed proposal to the Board before its next meeting.

In other business, Jeannie Whitecotton of the Highland County Education Association made a presentation to the board on the Federal Education Jobs. She says the primary purpose of the legislation is to provide federal funding in support of teacher and other personnel salaries. Highland County should get their allocation by October 8th.

This nationwide program provides 10 billion dollars to support teacher and staff salaries. In his report to the Board, Mr. Wilmore made it clear that he strongly supports getting these federal funds to the teachers as soon as possible. He noted that teachers and staff have not had raises in several years and that in view of the recent accomplishments, they deserve this consideration.

In her report, elementary school Principal Teresa Blum noted that SOL celebration night was recently held honoring 42 students who did very well on the tests. Several students achieved perfect scores. The Destination Imagination teams are hard at work practicing for the upcoming competitions. The Book Fair is starting soon and Family Night at the school will be held on Monday, October 18.

She closed by encouraging parents to enroll in the grocery points programs at Kroger, Martins and Food Lion stores. These programs bring the school over $800 per year to support different school activities.

The School Board is looking at bids for installing air conditioning in several school computer rooms. The Board is also looking at installing insulation and new ceiling tiles in several rooms, to help reduce heating costs.

The Board is still reviewing the bids and hopes to award construction contracts soon. The Board is also reviewing bids for an 8 passenger van for transporting student groups to meetings and athletic events. The board approved Jennifer Hawk and Amanda Harvey as substitute teachers.

Superintendent Nowlin reported to the Board that the Town of Monterey has done smoke testing of the sewer system recently and has found that 2 stormwater drains at the school are connected to the sewer system. This results in large amounts of unwanted water entering the sewer system during periods of heavy rain. This can overload the water treatment plant.

The Town wants the school to disconnect those drains from the sewer system and let that storm water drain out on the ground somewhere near the school. Mr. Nowlin proposed that the school ask the engineering firm of Mattern and Craig to look at the drains to see how this stormwater can be redirected so it won’t enter the sewer system.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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