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Indiana lawmaker calls for random drug tests for high school athletes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A state lawmaker has introduced a measure calling on random drug tests for high school athletes.

Republican state Sen. Jean Leising wants to send a strong message to students across the state: “If you want to play on your school’s athletic team, you have to be willing to take a drug test.”

The Republican from Oldenburg said she has heard parents share instances of student-athletes doing drugs.

“I think this would be a deterrent for those kids to be engaged in any kind of drug activities, because if they realized they were subject to drug testing, and they are that star athlete or that prize cheerleader, they’re going to be reluctant to participate in illegal drugs,” Leising said.

She added, “This is just another tool that would give the school, the athletic department, the opportunity to make sure their kids are clean.”

Bobby Cox is commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

“I think our member schools are doing a pretty good job enforcing their substance abuse policies that they’ve already authored themselves,” Cox said Thursday. “I don’t know that adding this type of an expense and mandating this on our high schools is the answer that’s going to detour young people from participating in things they shouldn’t be doing.”

Cox added. “I’ve never been a real fan of random drug testing. It hasn’t ever proven to be very effective.”

About the proposed legislation, Cox asked, “Why aren’t we randomly drug testing all students? Why are we isolating athletic activities? Shouldn’t we be testing the band? Shouldn’t we be testing the drama club? Those types of things in the high school scheme of things are just as important.”

Chris Brodnik, a former football player, said he does not think the bill is needed.

“When I was in high school, to play sports, you had to sign a code of conduct contract that would already state that,” Bodnik said.

But other people disagreed.

“It should be done because of the fact it helps with athletes and it helps the integrity of everything,” Sean Martin of Indianapolis said. 

Online legislative information shows Leising’s measure was assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, but the bill has not yet been assigned a hearing before that panel.