Posts Tagged school drug testing
St. Joseph’s Prep school is taking every measure to ensure its students are protected from substance abuse. Its most recent move is to subject students to a random hair drug test.
According to school officials, the new policy is not punitive in nature but to help students avoid drug use and the dangers associated with it. Beginning March, the school will randomly drug test 20 students a month and those who fail the drug test for the first time will receive counseling.
“We’ve been very transparent with what we’re doing – we want them to be successful, we want them to know we care, we want them to know that what we’re doing is what we feel is in their best interest,” Bill Gillespie, the school’s director of counseling, told CBS Philly.
While some students think the new policy is transgressing “some boundaries,” many parents have expressed their support for the program and the effort to help kids make the right choice in life.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a St. Joseph’s Prep alumnus, has likewise been supportive of the school’s drug testing program, saying some of today’s youth “may have challenges with drug issues,” and thus the need for proper guidance.
“Our hope is to educate them and treat them individually with respect,” says Principal Jason Zazyczny. “It’s a non-punitive policy, so we’re going to do everything possible before we would ever ask a student to withdraw.”
A private, Roman Catholic Jesuit high school in Palm Desert, California announced on Monday that it will enforce a mandatory drug testing program beginning spring.
An official from Xavier College Preparatory High School said the program will be voluntary when it begins in the spring but mandatory for admission starting next fall. And just like other schools with the same program, Xavier intends to implement drug testing for their students to help them stay clear of drugs.
“Our goal is prevention rather than punishment,” Dean of Students Mark Granger told The Desert Sun. “Ultimately, the goal of the program is to empower students to say no.”
School administrators denied claims that the drug testing policy is a response to the drug use problem at their school. Instead, they insisted the approach is aimed at encouraging students make healthier choices. Granger added that when students know any drug use in the past 90 days could show up on a drug test, they would have an incentive to stop using or to avoid drugs.
The Xavier test will look for illegal substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Vicodin. The test won’t be screening for alcohol or tobacco use.
Once the program is in place, about 10 to 15 percent of the student body will be subjected to random drug test every 100 days. The report says the school will be using hair drug testing method. Those who test positive will be required to take a drug test every 100 days, with the cost to be shouldered by the family for as long as the student attends the school.
Granger added that they have so far received overwhelming response from parents; one parent even saying “I send them to a private school because I want good, hard rules.”
After thorough discussions and deliberations on the proposed policy from the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Murphysboro School District is ready to come up with their own drug testing program.
Superintendent Chris Grode has been chosen to head the presentation of the proposal to the school board which will contain all the necessary information about the proposed drug test program — from the students that will be subjected to the procedure, to the corresponding sanctions, the budget for the program, and all other issues of the proposal.
The proposal is expected to be out on August and will be voted on by September. Grode says that while his presentation will answer questions related to the drug testing procedure, the school board will be responsible for the final list of students that will comprise the testing population. During earlier meetings of the board, students with parking privileges and those involved in sports and other school activities will be subjected to random drug testing.
Board president Mike Austin was concerned about the costs for each test. Board member Kristi Miller said the tests will probably require 50 centavos to $3 each from the school. Should there be a need for third-party analysis, most outside companies charge around $25 per test.
For students involved in school activities that will test positive, parents will be immediately notified and the students concerned will be suspended from their extra-curricular activities. The same goes for students with parking rights as their parking permits will be automatically confiscated if they get involved in drugs.
Parents are welcome to contest the results and are given the opportunity to have re-tests, but they will have to shoulder the succeeding re-tests costs.
Grode also gave the assurance that the results will be kept confidential by the school. What they are after is that students will be aware that such a program is in effect and that it will hopefully discourage them from using illicit drugs.
The Eastern Lancaster County School District is optimistic that its own version of a drug testing policy will hurdle all legal obstacles and be approved in no time.
District Superintendent Robert Hollister said that Elanco’s drug testing program is patterned after Solanco School District’s policy, but that they have made adjustments to avoid legal scrutiny based on Solanco’s case before they finally got the approval of the courts and of the school community.
Elanco presented evidence of drug problems in their institution. In the 634-word detailed “purpose” section of their policy, Elanco presented a report made by the investigative board that looked into the risks of drug abuse in the district. It included discussions, statistics, and surveys participated in by students, parents, teachers, coaches, and school administrators.
“So ours is slightly different (from Solanco’s) in a manner that acknowledges specifically the issues we were having here and the fact that a community task force made the recommendation,” Hollister added.
Hollister further reiterated that a drug testing program is not keen on catching kids on the act but that it is supposed to make them (students) think twice before they succumb to the temptation of experimenting with drugs.
There were a few parents from the area that earlier disagreed with the drug-testing rules but Elanco’s task force is continuing to monitor public opinion with regards to the policy.
While each district allows the testing of “secondary” school students, Elanco opted not to adopt testing on this bracket of students and instead focused on the middle school category where seventh and eighth grade students belong.
To address one parent’s distress on the randomness of the drug testing policy, as her child was chosen twice to undergo the procedure, Hollister claimed this could really happen. “It is a random test every time, so students who were selected once could get selected again, as happened with this student.”
After reports of alleged drug use at Warrenton High School, the discipline committee of the Warren County R-III School District is still at odds on whether random drug testing should be implemented in the area. But for parent Jill Beedy, drug testing should not be done in schools. It should be something done by the police and not by the school district.
While there were some parents who favored the policy during last November’s school community meeting, Breedy is strongly against it. The concerned parent said that what she saw during the presentation was not focused on keeping kids away from drugs, but instead was scaring the students. “We’re talking about striking fear into our students and we shouldn’t be doing that,” she said.
School District Superintendent Dr. Tom Muzzey admits there is still much to be discussed before the board comes out with a decision on drug testing matters. While he acknowledges Breedy’s effort to voice out the concerns of parents on the issue, he has a different perception when it comes to the school district’s role in implementing random drug testing. “I think the district has the responsibility to make sure the practices and policies are reflective of community norms and values,” Muzzey stated.
A question raised by Breezy pertains to how the board can ensure that the testing will be done randomly, if implementation is approved. “How exactly does the school district pick who gets tested? How is the R-III district not held liable for who they choose to test?”
Muzzey answers that the board will be acquiring the services of a private firm to keep the process at random or they could opt to use a software program for the procedure.
The superintendent also assured the community that they are open to the opinions of parents and the community as a whole with regards to the implementation of the random drug testing before everything will be finalized.
The Lake Zurich Community District 95 School Board has voted against the drug testing policy that was supposed to be implemented in the schools in their area. After a year of discussions and debates of those who are for and against the policy, the school board who voted last week finally sealed the fate of the proposal.
In last month’s survey, it was revealed that 1,912 residents or 76% of the respondents did not agree to the provisions of the policy which prompted the board to vote against it.
People like Dan Fewkes, who initially supported random drug testing policy but later became a strong anti-drug test advocate, were pleased with the board’s decision. He said that while there may be a very big problem on drug abuse especially among students, Fewkes believes that there are other ways to address the growing problem. “The school board and the administration have the ear of the community right now, as to what we are going to do about this; now is the time to do something,” Fewkes said.
The majority voted against the implementation of the random drug testing for varied reasons. Some said it was a clear violation of the student’s and their parent’s rights, while others said it was not fair as it will only target students who are into extra-curricular activities or those with parking spaces. Some also doubt the method of drug testing.
For board member Kathleen Wallis, what the board did was listen to the community upon voting, and this should be reason enough for the residents to cooperate with them in solving the problem at hand.
Resident Jim Cairo pledged that he will continue to support the board in coming up with more programs against drug abuse. “I don’t think this policy was the right thing, but I don’t think we should be against the administration for trying something. I think we have to find the right process–I think education is the best way to reach these kids,” he said.