Bangor Area School District Board votes for random drug testing for all employees

Policy proposal goes to teachers' union

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: May 20 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: May 21 2013 06:34:55 AM EDT
BANGOR, Pa. -

A controversial new drug policy could become mandatory in the Bangor Area School District.

The school board has changed district policy to include random drug testing for all employees, including teachers.       

The district already has a policy in place that allows random drug testing for principals, assistant principals and central office staff.

This new move would now include teachers in the testing.  That is -- if the teachers' union approves it.

"This is what I talk to every single day of my life," said Dawn Riso, as she shows the board a picture of her daughter's gravestone. "So please do the right thing. Vote for mandatory random drug testing."

Riso's daughter, Gina, a teacher at Bangor High School, died of a heroin overdose in 2009.

Another district employee, who was with her at the time, also faced drug charges --resulting in Riso's call for district-wide random drug testing.

"I don't want one more person to die," added Riso.

The new policy change will make it mandatory for all employees.

"Historically it's been thrown out of courts whenever it's been contested," said Kevin Lilly, president of the Bangor Area Education Association. "So we're just trying to do it right. Make sure we are not making any mistakes."

The Bangor Area Education Association is currently negotiating a new contract with the district.   

The old contract expires June 30th.

If the teacher's union agrees, the new contract would include the new drug policy.

"We're just discussing it," said Lilly. "It's part of the negotiations, so we are talking about it and hammering out details, getting specifics."

Dawn Riso says she will keep fighting for the policy change.

She says she is just trying to make something good out of something bad.

"These people are in charge of our children our future generation," added Riso.

Negotiations are ongoing between the teachers and the district.

So far no vote on a contract has been scheduled.