Students at St. Viator High School in Illinois will be taking a new test this fall that does not necessitate any late-night cramming or No. 2 pencils. They will be taking an alcohol consumption test, which will use hair samples to determine if they’ve drank alcohol in the past 90 days.
The private, Catholic school has randomly tested students for drugs since 2007, according to the Chicago Tribune. However, this year it will also test its 1,000 students for alcohol, a move the school believes is unprecedented in Illinois.
“We’re adding this test because we care about our kids and we want them to be the that best God created them to be,” Corey Brost, St. Viator president, told a Chicago CBS affiliate.
The American Civil Liberties Union has typically opposed schools that conduct alcohol consumption tests on the basis that it is an invasion of privacy. However, because St. Viator is a private school, the ACLU recognizes that administrators are free to implement the policies of their choosing, according to the station.
"We have a mechanism for controlling the behavior of young people outside school -- they're called parents," ACLU representative Ed Yohnka told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't think we need for schools to be acting as uber-parents."
Still, the outlet notes that even among private schools, testing students’ hair for alcohol is atypical. Instead, some schools use Breathalyzers to test students at major school events, Myra McGovern of the National Association of Independent Schools told the Tribune.
Students who are found to have alcohol in their system will have to take a second test after 90 days. If they fail the test a second time, they will face some form of punishment to be determined on a case-by-case basis, the Chicago Daily Herald reports.
"We want to give kids a good reason to say, 'No, I can't drink, St. Viator tests for alcohol,'" Brost said to the outlet.
Parents are largely in favor of the action, the outlet reports. The test will not detect Communion wine.