Drug Testing at Shawnee Heights

Rachel Etzel

The school board is planning to vote on February 20 to decide whether drug testing should be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year.  Although the board hasn’t decided to pursue this decision completely they have had a board meeting and that was one of the topic discussions. Over the past couple months the board has discussed the possibilities of doing random drug testing at the middle and high school level.

“The main goal of these drug tests are to get negative results.” principal, Mr. Ed West said.

The school wants to implement these tests to decrease the amount of students doing illegal drugs in an unsafe way. Seaman and Hayden both have had similar numbers in the aspect of how many high schoolers have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime and who have tried it in the past 30 days according to a survey taken last year by sophomores and seniors. Both of these schools have seen significant improvement in their numbers following the implementation of drug testing. The school is starting to look into companies to provide testing for students. They have narrowed down to a few that many schools are using, including the company that provides for Seaman.

The board got together on January 23 to discuss the random drug testing policy. The board had  a long discussion with both sides voicing  their opinion. Lauren Tice Miller gave the idea of having a set date where teachers could learn how to see the warning signs of a student and how to react in this situation. Miller expressed her opinion that the school already has a drug policy in place and that another one with the same aspects isn’t necessary. Miller gave reference to the student handbook with this information. The members who weren’t on board with the idea of testing were Miller and Jason Schulz.

The school gave out an anonymous survey in the 2015-2016 school year to sophomores and seniors. In the survey taken, 31 percent of students said that they have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In the past 30 days, 16 percent said they have used marijuana. The point of drug testing is to get these numbers down and give kids a reason to not do drugs. If there are consequences put into place, students may be deterred from using. The consequence for a positive test would be 21 days with no extracurricular activities which includes all KSHAA activities. Students with positive results will also be referred to a prevention and recovery center for an assessment to see if further action needs to be taken. The student will also need to take five follow-up drug tests with a 90 day time period in between to make sure the student is staying clean.

The following drugs that will be tested include: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and ecstasy.