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Friday October 24th 2014

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Student challenges new District drug policy

I received this email from a Washington High student who questions, as I have, the School District’s decision to drug test its best students rather than spend those dollars on the classrooms.

Hi Rick,
I am a senior at Washington High School and some recent decisions by our school board have raised my hand.

Our art teachers receive $800 annually, which comes out to be less than $1.50 per student and with the cost of art materials being relatively high, the teachers are finding themselves coming out of pocket for the student’s benefit. While these statistics came to my attention, the board decides to mandate drug tests for all Escambia middle and high school students participating in extracurriculars and those who park on campus.

I was shocked that our teachers cannot receive more funds for learning purposes but we have the money to make teens put their urine in a cup, a process I find to be a violation of privacy. Not only a privacy issue, these are matters that should be taken care of at home, and have no business being an in school issue.

The lack of funds for my art teachers (and other teachers) is ridiculous and will only get worse with Rick Scott pushing for education cuts. We have a surplus of administration employees that are making top dollar for doing nothing more than pushing paper for seven hours a day and facilities that are failing to be properly maintained.

Malcolm Thomas needs to sit down and think about what our school system here in Florida, more precisely Escambia, has come to. People are turning to alternative, private, and even boarding institutions so that there children do not have to enroll in this mediocre education system. I have also seen a number of families using business addresses to attend school in Santa Rosa County in the past few years.

I thought I would bring this to your attention as I am a student who has been, and is currently in this system but as a seventeen year old there are only so many people who will listen. I feel that if a respected person such as yourself were to bring these problems to our city’s attention, our teachers may receive what the deserve and changes will be set in motion. I thank you so much for your time and please feel free to contact me for any reason.

Have a great day.