A drug testing policy is leaving one student banned from extracurricular activities after he missed the deadline to send in a consent form.
“Braden has felt ostracized about the entire situation,” Jamie Amlong said. “Not knowing the impact of getting the form in on time, and it was a simple confusion.”
Parents Missy and Jamie Amlong said the confusion goes back to August when their kids were enrolling for the school year on their own.
The parents said they were in Wichita at the time of enrollment for a medical reason.
This is the first year that USD 211 adopted a drug testing policy where students in grades 7-12 must sign a consent form within the three days of the first day of class in order to participate in extracurricular activities.
But the Amlongs said their 14-year-old son, Braden, didn’t make the deadline.
“Ok, it hasn’t been signed,” Jamie said. “We signed it and had him take it in, and they said no you’re after the three-day deadline. We can’t accept this.”
“I feel like I let him down,” Missy said. “He’s going to suffer the consequences because he didn’t understand the form.”
Because Braden didn’t sign the form, Jamie said he can’t park on school property, go participate in the off-school lunch program, participate in graduation, do sports and extracurricular activities.
Along with those limitations, Braden is also banned from competing in his graded forensics class this year, something he’s been looking forward to.
“He is very frustrated,” Jamie said. “He wants to go compete, and it’s very upsetting to him that he, at this point, will not go and compete.”
“I know this policy wasn’t intended to hurt a child,” he said. “But the way this has played out, I’m not going to say mentally devastated, but it’s going to hurt him.”
The Amlongs also told KSN that they’re frustrated with the ambiguity of the new policy.
The Amlongs were in Wichita for medical reasons. They have guardianship of another student, who lives with the Amlong family, and who they consider a son. He was having surgery at the time. They say he was allowed to turn in the form late but Braden was not.
Additionally, Jamie said there are multiple spots in the policy that are confusing, one of them being the procedure.
The procedure states “This form must be turned to the office within the first three (3) days of school or the first three (3) days enrolled. Failure to turn in the properly signed consent form within the time limits set for in this policy, will keep a student from participating in school sponsored activities.”
“Well, what if I get it signed? Will they be allowed to participate in school activities again?” asked Jamie.
The superintendent didn’t want to go on camera, but released a statement: “In July, 2017, the USD 211 Board of Education approved a Random Drug Testing Policy for students in grades 7-12. The Board, with the support of many parents and patrons in the community, felt the district needed to do more to try and prevent drug abuse among our young people. The district stands by its efforts to provide a safe educational environment for its students, teachers and staff.”
Missy said she and her husband have different opinions of the drug testing policy.
She said “getting [the students] involved in extracurricular activities might be the thing that saves them from drug use,” she said. “But under the policy right now, they can’t participate.
For now, Jamie said the Board is being receptive to their concerns, and he’s hopeful they can work something out.
Note: This version clarifies the relationship between the Amlongs and the student who was in Wichita for medical reasons.