Beginning in August, students of Missouri's Rockhurst High School will receive a free haircut -- though it won't be for style.
Under the Jesuit preparatory school's new drug policy, unveiled earlier this month, students will be required to submit 60 strands of hair for mandatory drug testing, multiple local outlets report. The move is a result of the school board of trustee's unanimous decision to up the ante on in-school drug testing.
While public schools are barred from instituting such mandatory drug tests, which are classified as an instance of "unreasonable search and seizure" under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, private schools are not held to the same standards.
The school will test each student for a range of substances including cocaine, marijuana and excessive amounts of alcohol, local TV station KSHB reports. If a student has taken any such substances in the last 90 days, the analysis will furnish a positive result.
After the first positive, the student's guidance counselor will arrange a meeting with the student's parents to discuss the best approach. The student will then be retested again after 90 days. If another positive results, disciplinary action may be taken, the Kansas City Star reports.
The new protocol aims to help "students make the best decisions possible during their time at Rockhurst," according to the school's drug policy statement.
The decision to institute mandatory and random drug testing was not made lightly, local TV station WDAF reports. Last year, Rockhurst surveyed the student body to gleam prevailing attitudes about drug and alcohol use, and shared the results with parents.
"As a Jesuit institution, it is incumbent upon Rockhurst High School to take a stand against trends that we believe are contrary to the formation of the young men in our care," Harkness told WDAF. "Our ultimate goal is a student body that is free of drugs and alcohol."
As CBS St. Louis notes, parents are backing the school's decision, however, not everyone is OK with the random and mandatory drug testing.
In a recent Kansas City Star letter to the editor, local resident Tom Owens argues that the plan is misguided since the net effect "will be to transfer an important parental responsibility to the school."
Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, criticized Rockhurst's drug testing plan for its costs, calling it a "colossal waste of money," the Kansas City Star reports.
Each drug test is expected to cost $50 and will be funded by fees collected from parents for student activities, KCTV reports.
A school staff member who moonlights as barber will be responsible for the hair collection set to launch at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, KSHB notes. Principal Greg Harkness said he hopes to test 80 percent of the all-male student body by the end of next year.