Shawnee, Tecumseh change drug polices after newspaper investigation

Two local schools have changed their drug testing policies after an instance where a teacher was caught allegedly under the influence and where staff members were allegedly stealing student medication.

Tecumseh Local Schools revised their policy for dealing with staff who were allegedly caught under the influence at school. The school policy now states that a staff member must quickly take a drug test when asked instead of delaying it by asking for union representation or by other means.

Meanwhile, the Clark-Shawnee Local School District has implemented a policy that requires all future employees of to undergo a drug test before being hired.

RELATED: Most Clark, Champaign County schools don’t drug test new hires

That policy change comes after a Springfield News-Sun investigation revealed only one district between Clark and Champaign County required teachers and staff to be tested before being hired, though, the majority of private businesses do drug test before offering employment.

That newspaper investigation was prompted in September when Reid School Clinical Aide Amy Baumgardner was accused and arrested for stealing Adderall, a drug used to treat ADHD, from the school’s medication cabinet. Baumgardner was charged with 4th degree theft in Clark County Common Pleas Court and was entered into an intervention program in lieu of conviction, according to Clark County Prosecutor Ryan Saunders.

The News-Sun in its reporting found Baumgardner was a first year hire and only had been working in the district for a couple months. The paper asked Superintendent Gregg Morris if Baumgardner was drug tested before being hired and was told that no employees aside from bus drivers were drug tested.

This launched a two county wide survey of the local school districts where the paper found only Springfield City Schools drug tests all employees before hiring them. All school districts said they drug test bus drivers — as it is required by Ohio law. The law is silent on teachers and staff who work in the school building.

On the eve before the Springfield News-Sun investigation was published a second Reid School employee, former custodian Kevin L. Williams, was arrested for allegedly stealing student medication.

MORE: Aide indicted, accused of stealing drugs from Clark County school

His case is also pending in the Common Pleas court and he has asked the court for an intervention program as well, Saunders said.

“We had some difficulty in the fall,” Morris said. “As a result of that we reflected and analyzed the issue and even though it is true most schools do not drug test employees we decided it would be an appropriate thing for us.”

Morris said the Springfield News-Sun’s reporting on the issue caused the district to look into drug testing.

“You asked that question,” Morris said. “You certainly were someone that mentioned that.”

READ: Clark County school district regrets 2nd medication theft arrest

He said community members in the Clark-Shawnee district also contacted him and other officials after reading the stories.

Each drug test will cost the district $50, he said. The total cost will depend on how many hires the district makes each year. The district also has the right to drug test employees if there is reasonable cause to suspect they are or have been under the influence.

Parents outside Reid School this week said they agree with the policy change.

Lisa Carmes, a parent at the district, said she is happy about teachers and staff getting drug tested before working with kids.

“I work in the nursing field and they do that,” she said. “I think anyone that takes care of our children should be tested.”

Tecumseh Superintendent Norm Glismann said in a statement that the district has changed how they handle teachers who are suspected to be under an influence in schools following the leave of teacher Kent Massie.

MORE: Tecumseh to review policy

“Any professional staff member whose physical characteristics, appearance, behavior, or breath odor suggests to a supervisor that s/he may be under the influence of alcohol may be requested to take a breathalizer test at the local police station or local health facility. The professional staff member shall immediately be taken to the station or local health facility by a supervisor,” Glismann said the new policy states.

Massie is a teacher at Tecumseh High School and the former head football coach alleged to have been found in school under the influence of a substance in October. The Springfield News-Sun requested to view his personnel file and found he had been placed on paid administrative leave, but the letter also stated that he had tested negative for any substance after the test was delayed due to him asking for representation before taking the test.

RELATED: Tecumseh teacher placed on leave on suspicion of substance abuse

Glismann said in an interview that the school has to respect the test results and Massie was reinstated in December to his teaching position, but the incident caused the school district to change its policy.

“Should the professional staff member delay taking such a test, refuse to take such a test or should the results of the test be positive, s/he shall be disciplined for conduct unbecoming a professional staff member by the Superintendent who shall recommend to the Board of Education the imposition, if any, of further penalties,” Glismann said the new policy states.

Protecting Kids

The Springfield News-Sun covers important educational issues including conducting a two county wide investigation into why local districts don’t drug test teachers and staff before hiring them to work with kids.

By the Numbers:

2: The number of arrests by authorities in connection with student medication theft at Reid School in September.

$50: The cost of conducting a drug test on a candidate before hiring at Clark-Shawnee.

$15,525 — Amount spent on drug and hearing tests for Springfield City School employees last year — who also test employees randomly.

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