Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Random Student Drug Testing

Drug education programs and parental advice often aren’t as strong as peer pressure.

Studies show in the last year more than one in three high school seniors used illicit drugs.

Scott County Superintendent, Dr. Dallas Blankenship -
“We think that if we have a drug testing program it will help students to explain to their peers that they are not going to do drugs.”Somerset High School began randomly drug testing students involved in “privileged activities”, like sports and cheerleading last fall. Their principal, Jeff Perkins, calls it “one of the best things I think we’ve done.”

The Program
Both students and parents are required to sign drug testing consent forms in order to participate in privileged activities. Curricular or academic based activities like band, debate and choir are not currently tested, even though they too are competitive extracurricular activities.Students be tested are randomly selected and the process takes about five minutes per student. The test looks for the presence of drugs like marijuana, meth and ecstasy as well as prescription drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. If a test is non-negative, a second test is sent to a laboratory for additional testing. If the confirmatory test is positive, the student receives counseling and may have to perform certain tasks such as writing a paper and performing community service. The student is also suspended from participating in the privileged activity for a short period of time.

The Intent
Overall the random drug testing program is designed to be preventative and not punitive. It’s also designed to give kids who do test positive a second chance.“We’re getting on the other side of this now, some education and getting these kids in some type of rehabilitation program. And hopefully we can salvage that versus the other way which was throwing them away.”“The safety of students and to have a drug free environment are extremely important, so our board’s already made a commitment.”

Original Source: Chris Dietz, ABC News

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