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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Windsor schools reject drug testing of students - The Denver Post

Windsor schools reject drug testing of students - The Denver Post

The Windsor school district will rely this fall on ways other than random drug testing to discourage illicit drug use among students.

The Windsor-Severance school board rejected drug testing last month, even though a slim majority of parents approved of the idea.

But the results of an online survey of parents indicated less than broad backing for a potentially controversial program. About 51 percent favored drug testing, the district said.

"The district really wanted to move forward with something that would have plenty of community support rather than start something that would have a divisive effect," said Dave Nicholl, chairman of the district's safe and healthy lifestyles committee.

Nicholl helped gauge the viability of student drug testing as a way to head off abuse among the district's students. The proposal called for random testing of athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities.

The district also surveyed teachers and students and held community forums. There was a disparity between what was said at the forums and what showed up during the anonymous surveys, Nicholl said.

"Especially in the parent community groups, there was a vocal majority not in favor of it," Nicholl said. "We had lots of people voicing opposition for a variety of reasons."

The district's accountability committee of parents and school officials told the school board that the survey showed 55.5 percent of district staffers supported drug testing, as did 42 percent of students.

The committee noted that a similar proposal in the rural Holyoke school district showed 81 percent supported drug testing.

"A divisive tone was evident in our community with the introduction of the potential (drug testing) proposal," the committee said. "This polarization undermines the positive focus that the district is trying to establish with other prevention efforts."

There were other objections to drug testing, according to the committee. They included the singling out of students in extracurricular activities, that the district could be targeted for lawsuits and that classroom time would be cut short because of testing.

Other programs geared toward prevention, meanwhile, seem to be working, the district said.

"Those seem to be the types of things the whole community would get behind," Nicholl said.

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