Two California high schools have started a pilot drug testing program after concerns over their students extracurricular activities. The program, which is voluntary, has attracted nearly 500 participants in grades 9-12 of 2,946 notices sent to parents. School officials say students who test positive for controlled substances will not be penalized but hinted the results will inform how administrators respond.
If successful, the program may be rolled out districtwide, “The numbers that we’ve seen at [two high schools] in drugs and alcohol hasn’t been that alarming for us to do that yet, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do it districtwide. I’m open to it,” school board Vice President said.
Announced in December, nearly 50%, or 1,444, letters were returned to the high schools with 473 students deciding to participate. The schools initiated the pilot program after it was found that 38 suspensions were related to the abuse of controlled substances. In various cases students were discovered abusing inhalants and illicit drugs.
“The school is a microcosm of the community, and we want to make sure we are doing our part to assist the community and eradicating the problem,” the Deputy Superintendent said.