A new policy on the books in the Monmouth-Roseville School District subjects many students to random testing for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The district said the goal is to keep students safe.
Superintendent Ed Fletcher said all students in grades 7-12 who participate in school-related activities must sign a consent form to be randomly tested. He said the testing also applies to students who park their vehicles on campus.
The school-related activities include athletics, dance teams, cheerleading, student council, yearbook, jazz band, homecoming court, and academic clubs such as French club, Latin club, and science club.
Fletcher said the policy was first discussed about five years ago, but the school board chose not to adopt it at the time. He said the concept came up again this year and the school board signed off on it last spring.
“We hope the possibility of testing could act as a deterrent for kids who could be put in situations in which there could be some peer pressure applied to participate in something they do not want to participate in,” said Fletcher. “We hope this could give the student an out or an excuse to say, ‘Look, I could be tested and I don’t want to participate.’”
Fletcher said eligible students will be assigned a number. He said the company conducting the testing-- not the school district-- will randomly select numbers for each round of testing.
“The school district is essentially out of the mix because we do not want any parent(s)/guardian(s) thinking we are picking on their kids,” said Fletcher.
Students who do not sign the consent form will not be allowed to participate in school-related activities or park their vehicles on school grounds. The same applies if their parent or guardian does not sign the consent form.
Fletcher said a positive test will result in a student not being able to participate in an activity-- or park on campus-- until they pass a follow-up test. He said students will not be suspended from school and the results of a positive test will not be provided to law enforcement.
The school district will pay for the cost of the testing and any follow-up tests as required. The student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) would be responsible for paying for any re-testing of a “positive” sample as part of an appeal.
Fletcher said the scope of the testing has yet to be determined. He said the school board has yet to set aside funding for the project, which will determine how many tests are conducted each year.