About 80 percent of Maryville School District’s 700 middle and high school students will be subject to random drug testing this coming school year, the St. Joseph News-Press reports.
According to the Associated Press, the northwest Missouri school board approved a drug-testing policy in May that will randomly test students in grades 7-12 who either participate in extracurricular activities, or who park on school grounds.
Parents of students who do none of the above will have the option of voluntarily placing their children in the testing pool.
An initial positive test will result in the student being suspended from extracurricular activities for 30 days, while a second positive result will bench them for 90 days. A third positive test will yield a one-year suspension from all extracurricular activities.
The St. Joseph News-Press reports Springfield-based Employee Screening Services will conduct the testing, which will cost the district between $5,000 and $7,000 a year, according to assistant superintendent Steve Klotz.
Klotz told the paper about 25 percent of Missouri’s school districts already do random drug screenings, and that 80 percent of parents have stated they would support or strongly support such a policy in Maryville’s schools.
“I think the primary motivation for having the program in place is to provide another opportunity to support our students’ ability to make positive choices,” he said. “We want to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all of our students.”
In March, the Associated Press reported that an 11-year-old girl at Swift Middle School in central Pennsylvania is suing her district over a drug-testing policy that is required if she wants to participate in chorus, orchestra and other activities.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit on behalf of the sixth-grader and her parents. They claim the policy violates privacy rights under the state constitution and want a county judge to prevent the Solanco School District from enforcing it.
Last October, a group of Lake Zurich High School parents were vocal in their opposition to the Chicago school’s proposal to test hair samples from randomly-selected students six times per year for illegal drugs including marijuana, cocaine, opiates and methamphetamine. In the end, the school decided to scrap the plan after a survey of nearly 2,000 parents indicated 76 percent were opposed to the policy.
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