Should high school students be subjected to random drug testing?
Nickerson Rural High School students may come back in August and face random drug testing for drugs and alcohol when wanting to join school activities. The policy is titled ““Random Drug Testing of USD 309 Nickerson-South Hutchinson Students” entails which activities students sign up for that would require the screening.
The draft submitted outlines “Participation by students in grades 7-12 in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities and school-sponsored events include but not limited to: Athletic programs, Cheer-leading, Before/after/summer school weight lifting, Student Council, Band and vocal, Academic activities, school clubs, Attendance of activities and Parking privileges on USD 309 school property.” Included in those are activities like scholastic bowl, science club, school musicals, yearbook and prom.
Why High School Drug Testing?
The school says the policy is to provide safety for all students and steer them away from drugs at an early age to encourage their full academic potential.
According to the draft document, the drug testing would be random for students and there is an opt-out option, but students that opt-out would not be allowed to participate in the stated school activities. Students that test positive for drug or alcohol use would be suspended for four weeks on the first offense from school activities they are involved in, eight weeks for the second offense and a semester for a third offense. Any student that refuses to take a random drug screening would ‘constitute a non-negative test result.’
Thoughts from the ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union sent a document to the school board saying the program sends the wrong message to students and targets those least likely to use. As well as stating there is no evidence that supports the efficacy of school drug testing programs.
The school board will considering the policy in a meeting this week.