Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The bands, the face paint, the Friday night lights are back in South Florida as the high school football season kicks off.
“Gotta work hard, gotta show all your dedication on the field. And if you work hard enough you’ll end up making it to the varsity team,” Southwest JV player Kevin Dixon said after Thursday night’s game at Tropical Park.
The requirements for Dixon to make the varsity team, though, may soon change by the end of the year.
Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado is proposing to implement a random drug test program for any student involved in after school activities. We are not just talking about the football field, but students in the debate club, too.
“The debate club, the chess club and that is something that is important because even though this is come up PD’s and use of PD’s in sports we also know that a lot of high achievers are using different drugs, like albuterol for example, because they believe that it will give them an edge,” Regalado said.
Since 1981 Miami-Dade County hasn’t had a mandatory drug test for students. But now momentum is building to change that.
Performance enhancers have been in the headlines recently ever since Major League Baseball went after now defunct Miami Biogenesis clinic. The office was not only supplying MLB all-stars with drugs, but allegations are that they supplied high school students as well.
In 2007 Florida ran a pilot program to test high school athletes for steroids. With $100,000 available, tests we’re given to just 53 of more than 600 schools in the state. In all, just 600 athletes were tested at a cost of $166 dollars a test. In the end—just one test came back positive for steroids.
Regardless of past results, Regalado says she plans to fundraise to pay for the program.
“The importance is the possibility of that testing will exist for all students,” Regalado said.
Students and parents agreed the deterrent would be good.
“I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think drugs should be allowed during sports,” said Manuel Zapata, Dixon’s teammate.
Gladys Vazquez, a parent and booster at Southwest, said she would be alright with a drug testing program as well.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea because they shouldn’t be doing drugs in the first place. They should all be playing at the same level,” said Vazquez.
The school board meets Tuesday September 3rd and will consider doing a study on the issue. If Regalado gets her way, she would like a random drug testing program implemented by January.