During this week’s Park City School Board meeting, a draft policy of the district’s proposed drug policy was presented. While drug testing for Park City students has not been approved, now is the time to provide any objections. One of our major concerns is student privacy.
The district policy describes who will have the results of the drug testing. It says:
- Information regarding the results of the drug tests shall be kept confidential among the building principal, designees, any employee with a need to know, the student’s parent or legal guardian, and the student.
Unfortunately, nowhere in the draft policy does is mention the word privacy. The only time it speak to confidentiality of results is the above bullet point.
Let us give you an example of our fear. Let’s say Johnny Smith plays wide receiver for the Miners Football team. On Monday he gets pulled out of class for a random drug test. He fails. He is then suspended for two football games. Sure, officially only the Principal, the Assistant Principal, a school counselor, and his coaches know that he has been suspended for failing a drug test. However, it doesn’t take a genius for his classmates to figure out he failed a test (why isn’t he playing in these two games?). Then various people at school turn to social media and post that Johnny failed his drug test. Then the whole school knows. Then so do colleges that wanted to recruit Johnny for football … or maybe it’s the college admission officer who is reviewing his application for Westminster.
We just don’t see how the school can protect our students’ privacy. They can’t outlaw freedom of speech — especially when it’s true. We don’t have to look much farther than last year’s security scare at the high school, to see how fast and far social media spreads.
Messing with kids’ lives in order to have the appearance of “doing something” is a horrible approach. We hope the school district stops this madness immediately.
As the Park City School District moves closer to drug testing our students, there’s one group adamantly opposed to the idea. It turns out that the American Academy of Pediatrics “opposes in school drug testing due to lack of evidence.” In fact they created a policy paper and technical report on it. Their main concerns?
- Limited evidence of efficacy
- Decreased participation in sports
- Breach of confidentiality
- Increases in use of substances not included on testing panels
- Increases in the number of students facing disciplinary action (whether official or not)
We find #4 interesting. During an interview on KPCW, Superintendent Ember Conley noted that drug tests don’t screen for synthetic drugs, which is the type of drug that allegedly took the life of two students in Park City recently. Does drug testing just drive other kids to those same dangerous, synthetic drugs because they won’t be caught?
Perhaps the better question is if your child’s pediatrician recommended something for your kid, wouldn’t you do it? Then why are we going to ignore their recommendation this time?
This morning on KPCW, Park City School Board member Julie Eihausen made a comment about new 5/6 and 7/8 grade schools. KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher asked Ms. Eihausen whether we were still going forward with those new schools, especially in light of some potential new board members stating a preference for K-6 schools.
Ms Eihausen commented that the board had voted for the new schools last year and that’s what was going to happen, in some form or fashion (i.e. two schools or one 5-8 campus, etc.) somewhere. She said it would take a vote of the board to rescind that directive. She also said she would be hard-pressed to change her mind.
We thought that directive likely died with the school bond, but it appears not. We wonder if the new school board will at least want to discuss whether plans made by different people, in a different place, that were essentially struck down by the public, are still valid.
KPCW is reporting that Vail is changing some signs in town to use the name “Park City Mountain Resort” instead of Park City. That’s kind of them, I we suppose.
However, today we received a random catalog in the mail from a company called uncommongoods. On page 33, we noticed a nice poster for PARK CITY. It provides a brief history of the town, some info about geography, a drawing of our mountains, and of course the words “Vail Resort Official Licensed Product.”
We’re not sure what exactly needed to be “officially licensed.” Is it the town’s history? The elevation of the mountain? The name Park City?
I guess, maybe there are some lift names on it, but it sure seems like they are treating Park City just like another one of its company towns.
Over a week ago, we heard from a Park City teacher that teachers were directed not to discuss the Presidential election with students. According to the teacher, they were told not to talk about it because it was too controversial of a topic. Instead, if they wanted to talk about elections, the administration allegedly told them they were instructed to talk about state and local elections. We reached out a week ago to the school district for comment but never received a response.
One of the problems with this stance is that this election almost serves as a cautionary tale. The story of Icarus. Little Red Riding Hood. Every slasher film from the 1980’s.
This national election is a train wreck. In one corner, we have a man who won’t denounce the former leader of the KKK, has repeatedly disparaged women, and makes fun of the disabled. In the other corner we have someone who would likely be in jail if she was you or me.
To that, I say, what better educational opportunity is there for our kids than to learn that money and power doesn’t excuse you from the responsibly to be a kind and fair human.
I’m not advocating for our 15 year olds to learn about grabbing a women by her …well you know how that quote ends … or our elementary kids to learn about how to repeatedly lie and use political power to escape unlawful behavior. However it does provide an opportunity for discussion.
As our tteachers are good and I’m sure they are able to do what teachers have always done. If we take World War 2, in elementary school you learn that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor to start World war 2 (that’s not accurate but it is a broad stroke that enabled us to understand the war). In high school you learn that our enemy was Hitler and he killed 6 million Jews and was a horrible person. In college you learn that our ally was Joseph Stalin, who was just as horrible man, and killed more people than Hitler (maybe was responsible for up to 60 million deaths). Later in college you realize that part of the reason the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor was because of a US Oil embargo.
The point is that there is ALWAYS a way to educate and provide kids with information that teaches them information they are capable of processing. In the case of The Donald and Hillary, is there any better tale in the last 10 years related to treating people fairly, following rules, and not lying than what has been foisted on us during this election cycle? Yes, one of these people will be our President. Yet, that is a good lesson too. Nice people don’t always win and sometimes people in power are not good people and shouldn’t be respected.
I’m sure it’s easier for our schools to avoid the topic. However, if the allegations are true, we are missing a grand opportunity to educate our children about something that s unfolding around them.
So, you are in an airport in St Louis and someone asks you whether they should visit Park City, what do you say?
A) Yes, it’s a great place to visit, with nice people, great skiing, and is even better in the summer.
B) No, uhhh… you wouldn’t like it. There are few evergreens like you might get in Colorado. The liquor laws make it really confusing (and people will make fun of you). Whistler (in Canada) is much more favorable due to the exchange rate. Did you know Whistler is the top rated ski resort in North America?
I oh so wanted to go with B… but I went with A.
The next time, though, I’m not so sure. I want to support my city… but do I support it more by helping overrun it with people, or do I support it more by encouraging people to stay away.
I’m afraid I know the right answer.
Yesterday we asked readers if they had questions they wanted asked about the proposed sales tax increase that will be on this November’s ballot. Transportation managers from both the city (Alfred Knotts) and the county (Caroline Ferris) were happy to answer questions on camera. Here are the questions and answers:
It sounds like the main improvement to buses would be shorter wait times. Have you considered adding additional routes?
In your presentation you talk about adding signal priority lanes. Are those the above road signs that tell traffic whether they can use a lane or not? Like what they have near USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake?
What are your plans to get skiers, in single occupant vehicles, off the road?
What will the design of the carpool and bus lanes be on Highway 248?
What will the design of the carpool and bus lanes be on Highway 224?
Why isn’t Richardson’s Flat being used immediately as a park and ride?
Why not use existing parking lots like schools supermarkets, etc. instead of building new park and rides?
Will the pedestrian passage under I-80, between Pinebrook and Jeremy Ranch, be kept as part of the improvements to the Jeremy ranch and Pinebrook interchanges?
Is the E-Bike share program going to be delivered as part of this tax increase?
What will the impact be to traffic and school children if we build a Park and Ride in the open space next to Jeremy Ranch Elementary School?
How will we know if the tax increase has worked to help alleviate traffic and when will we know it?
There were also comments made by a few citizens during the Public Hearing portion of the meeting. However, turn out was really poor for the meeting. The public’s comments are below:
Tonight the Summit County Council is holding a public hearing at 6PM to take public comment on the proposed .5% sales tax increase (really two .25% sales taxes) to fund areas designed to improve transportation. The hearing is at the Richins Building (the library in Kimball Junction). If you can make it, it’s a great opportunity to both get your questions answered and hear what other citizens are concerned with.
If you can’t make it, feel free to post a comment here with questions or email us at . We’ll do our best to ask your questions tonight. It may not be possible to ask every question (time is limited), but we’ll do our best.
We received an email from County Manager Tom Fisher reminding us that staff will also be available before the meeting (from 3:00 to 5:30 in Room 133 of the Richins building) to answer any questions. From our experience, the staff are the people who can get into the nitty gritty . While the County Council are there to listen, and there will be staff in the audience during the public hearing who probably could answer questions, if you can ask one on one questions with staff members, you’ll likely get a more thorough response. So, if you have the time, and have questions, showing up during the pre-meeting wouldn’t be a bad decision.