Alcohol Testing Drug Testing Substance Abuse

Missouri High School’s Hair Drug Testing Policy Receives Media Attention

A local high school has announced that it will be implementing mandatory random drug testing among students beginning SY 2013-2014. But while the intentions are good, the announcement didn’t come without causing a buzz.

KSHB reports that Rockhurst High School in Kansas City will be collecting approximately 60 strands of hair from randomly selected students to test for the use of banned substances, such as cocaine, PCP, opiates, methamphetamine, marijuana. The hair follicle drug test will also detect evidence of binge drinking.

“Our point is, if we do encounter a student who has made some bad decisions with drugs or alcohol, we will be able to intervene, get the parents involved, get him help if necessary, and then help him get back on a path of better decision making, healthier choices for his life,” Rockhurst Principal Greg Harkness said.

Early this month, Fox4KC reported that the Rockhurst High School Board of Trustees unanimously decided to begin the drug testing program to address permissiveness and misinformation about substance abuse among students.

The board said its decision is a result of a two-year consultation with trustees, administrators, faculty, parents, alumni and students about drug and alcohol use among teenagers.

According to Rockhurst’s drug test policy, if a student tests positive for any illegal substances, the student’s guidance counselor will request a meeting with the student and at least one parent. A student with a first positive result will be re-tested in 90 calendar days.

If a student fails the drug test for the second time, the Dean of Students will be consulted to determine if the student may continue in the school’s rehabilitation program. At this time, a full examination of the student’s disciplinary record will be reviewed. For the third positive result, a student will be dismissed from Rockhurst High School.

Although some students do not take any issue with the school’s drug test policy, there are others who consider the initiative an invasion of privacy. Matthew Brocato, the junior class president at Rockhurst, said “Some parents think that they’re the role of parenting away from them. There’s different issues that come up, but for the most part, the majority are okay with it.”

KSHB revealed that Rockhurst principal Harkness fielded calls from around the country following its report about the Jesuit school’s drug testing policy. In addition, Harkness reportedly accommodated a CNN interview for its own story on the school’s drug testing program.

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