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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, April 10, 1996, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 3/6/19

MAHS students speak out about drug testing policy; ‘Half the school would be arrested’ if applied to everyone

Although it won’t change anything, some Middletown high school students have …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, April 10, 1996, edition of the Press & Journal


MAHS students speak out about drug testing policy; ‘Half the school would be arrested’ if applied to everyone

Although it won’t change anything, some Middletown high school students have their own thoughts about a drug testing policy scheduled to go into effect at the start of the 1996-97 school year.

Unanimously approved at the March 18 school board meeting, the new policy will allow for computer-selected random drug testing, to be done without parental notification.

For now, officials say, the new policy will apply to high school athletes only.

Disciplinary action for positive results range from drug and alcohol counseling for a first offense to being barred from sports all together for a third offense. Offending students would not be suspended or expelled from school, officials explained, since it would not be known whether the student used drugs on or off school property — something the test cannot determine.

What paved the way for Middletown’s drug testing policy, school officials said, is a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows public schools to require drug testing as a condition of playing sports.

Middletown Area School District officials have indicated that at some point down the road, they may consider extending the drug testing policy to include younger athletes.

Needless to say, the new policy gets mixed reviews from the students themselves.

“I think it’s good. They need to do it,” said MAHS student Amy Zeiters.

Maria Baldi agreed.

“I think it’s a really good idea because athletes and drugs don’t mix,” Baldi said.

Bill Willmath supports it, but is concerned about the implications of a broader policy.

“I think it’s good for athletes but for others, half the school would be arrested,” Willmath said.

Alex Bush opposes it.

“It’s not right because everybody has a choice of what they should do [about drugs]. It’s personal,” he said.

But the bottom line for the school district, officials said, is this: to make student athletes realize that drugs shouldn’t be used at all.

The policy is expected to cost the district $3,500 to $4,000 per year. It’s money officials believe will be money well spent.

Royalton officer resigns, cites power struggle

Is there political intrigue brewing in Royalton borough?

According to a former employee, there is. At the Royalton Borough Council meeting of April 2, Mayor Judith Oxenford read the resignation of Aaron Wassell, a part-time police officer for the borough, who resigned as of March 31.

His statement, dated March 22, read, “Due to the political power struggle within the department that was put above the best interests of the citizens of Royalton, I feel I can no longer work for the borough.”

Oxenford would not comment other than to say, “I wish him [Wassell] well in whatever endeavor he chooses.”

Other Royalton officials were baffled as to what specifically is the nature of the so-called power struggle alleged to in Wassell’s letter of resignation. Wassell was not present at the meeting and could not be reached for comment as the borough does not give out phone numbers of its police officers.

His resignation was accepted unanimously.

The mayor reported that she will be interviewing two police officers for one position the week of April 8.

In other matters discussed at the April 2 meeting, Council noted that soon it will be safer to sit in the bleachers watching a softball or baseball game at Kiwanis Park baseball field. Council members unanimously approved paying half the cost of installing a batter’s cage and additional fencing to protect spectators from fast flying foul balls or the occasional runaway bat.

The Middletown Area Baseball Association will pay the other half of the cost. The borough’s share will be $1,217.

The installation of this fencing is scheduled to take place the week of April 8.

Borough looks at wastewater privatization

In its continuing search to find ways to trim the cost of borough operations, Middletown is presently considering some options that have proven successful for larger governmental agencies and for some municipalities — ideas like “downsizing,” “horizontal consolidation,” “intermunicipal merging” and “privatization.”

Privatization, the idea of turning over one or more departments of municipal operations to a private firm, is already being seriously considered by some area communities. Now it has come to the forefront in Middletown Council's deliberations. In fact, Councilman George Elberti brought up the concept at a recent council meeting, suggesting that the idea of hiring a private concern to operate the borough's water and wastewater treatment plants might be worth investigating in depth.

As a result of Elberti’s suggestion, council authorized Borough Manager John Mencer and Borough Wastewater Plant Supervisor Ken Klinepeter to go to Lititz to see how “privatization” has benefited that community. The two made the trip last Friday and got a first-hand tour of that municipality's privatized wastewater treatment plant.

Hot buys

• Steak for 2, $12.95. Saturday special, filet mignon and crab cake with two vegetables. Lamp Post Inn, 101 E. Main St., Middletown.

• Spring planting sale. Buy any three trees, get one free. Azaleas, $7.99. Geraniums, two for 89 cents. Country Market-Nursery, 1075 Middletown Road, Hummelstown.

• 1991 Chevy Camaro, air, V6, 50,000 miles, $8,995. 1995 S-10 Blazer, four-door, 4X4, deep purple, fully equipped, $24,995. 1987 Buick Century limited sedan, full power, bronze, $4,995. Ken Hess Pre-Owned, Main and Race streets, Middletown.

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