Students of the Washington Community High School will be subjected to random drug testing starting next school year.
The drug testing program was approved by the District 308 School Board after a short forum held last Monday. Students who participate in extracurricular activities and those with parking slots will be randomly tested for drug use.
The program took a year to process as Washington athletics director Herb Knoblauch painstakingly consulted school officials and other high schools in the area before finalizing the program.
Following the recommendations of the drug testing process, 10 to 12 students will be randomly tested by a third-party service company. The procedure will be done 15 times in a school year.
The cost of each test will range from $50 to $75. School principal and superintendent Jim Dunnan says the amounts are well within their set budget of $10,000 to $15000 annually for the drug testing program.
Both Dunnan and Knoblauch claimed that the program was supported by students, parents, and guardians as they have yet to receive any negative feedback about the process. The School Board also showed their support for the proposal even before voting began.
“Students now have a reason to say ‘no’ with teeth behind it,” said Jim Gerkin, school board member.
“I’m glad we’re being proactive. It’s painful when we (board members) have to clean up the tail end of a problem (with an expulsion),” added another official.
The test will require students to submit urine samples. A positive result will be immediately made known to the student, to his parents or guardians, and as well as to his coaches or activity sponsors but not to law enforcement authorities.
The student will be suspended from his activities until he tests negative. Succeeding costs for re-tests will be shouldered by the parents. The school will provide the assistance of a social worker for the family and will give a list of counseling centers where families can get help.