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[January 03, 2013]
Cumerland County schools consider policy to require employee drug testing
Jan 03, 2013 (The Fayetteville Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Cumberland County school officials are considering a policy that would require drug testing of employees suspected of using drugs or alcohol on the job.
The employee could be subject to drug testing if a supervisor has reasonable suspicion to believe the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is abusing prescription drugs at work, according to the proposed policy.
The superintendent or his designee could order an employee to submit to a drug test. Refusal to take the test could lead to dismissal.
The N.C. School Board Association recommended Cumberland County school officials make their drug-free workplace policy stronger, Superintendent Frank Till Jr. said. The proposed revisions also bring Cumberland schools in line with other school systems. The drug-free workplace policy was one of several the association has been reviewing in recent years at the school board's request.
The current policy does not address the issue of testing employees suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work.
The school system's Policy Committee voted Wednesday to forward the proposed policy to the full school board for consideration. The board must have two readings before voting on the policy.
Also Wednesday, the committee reviewed the system's social media policy.
Sections of the policy predate Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, said Till. The proposed changes would included all forms of social media.
They system's social media policy prohibits school employees from communicating with students through personal social networking sites. Employees may not grant students access to any part of their personal social media sites that are not accessible to the public.
The school system has had a few incidents related to social media. In November, schools officials began an investigation into whether a Terry Sanford High School teacher shared inappropriate photos with students through her Instagram account.
Instagram is a free photo-sharing program. It allows users to take a photo and share it with others in their Instagram social network.
School officials are still investigating whether any policies were violated.
"The clarifications in the policy are more of a warning to everyone that you never stop being a teacher," Till said. "My best advice to someone is if you want something to be kept private don't post it anywhere. I tell my staff all the time, if you use common sense you don't have to worry about the policies." Staff writer Venita Jenkins can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3511.
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