Random Drug Testing Approved at High School
Board of Education implements new policy that is strictly voluntary.
With the consent of a parent or guardian, Jefferson High School students may now be drug tested at random after the board of education recently approved a new policy.
The purpose of the policy, according to the administration, is to deter and remediate rather than punish students who test positive for using narcotics or other illegal drugs.
In a letter to parents from the district, administrators state that the program will be available annually and offered to all school employees, pupils and parents or guardians. Newly hired staff members and transfer students also will be offered the program.
The program has been batted around by the board for more than a year and-a-half, according to Superintendent Joseph Kraemer. An ad-hoc committee was established to look over data and come to a decision on the program.
Does this mean there’s a drug problem in the school?
According to the district’s “Q&A” sheet on its website, it’s not a problem within the schools, rather “ongoing events within the community” are illustrating the opportunities for the misuse of illegal substances.
“The Board of Education believes that the abuse of illegal substances presents a continuing challenge to the schools within the District and a clear danger to the student population as a whole,” the answer said.
The board is still searching for a vendor to take over the intended duties of the program, Kramer said, thus delaying the beginning of the drug testing.
"We're still hunting for an appropriate vendor," Kraemer said. "We want to keep the administration completely separate from this program. We don't want to be put in a position where we're accused of singling out a student."
Testing will be conducted in a mobile laboratory or designated school facility, the administration said. Students will provide a urine sample into a collection and testing device. The device, the district says, can test for five or more drugs in as little as five minutes.
Test results will be kept confidential, as law prevents them from being released outside the school, the district said.
The program is not linked to athletics, co-curricular activities or parking privileges, the letter to families stated.
Kramer said the district is creating a website for parents to better understand signs of drug use in teens as well.
What do you think of the policy?