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Rockhurst High School will test all students for drugs
Program is believed to be first in KC area. Hair samples will detect drug use and evidence of binge drinking.

Beginning in the fall of 2013, every student at Rockhurst High School will be tested at least once a year for drug and alcohol use.

“It’s a huge shift,” Principal Greg Harkness said Thursday. It’s an unprecedented step among Kansas City area schools.

“But it’s one we need to do,” he said.

Not because the private Jesuit school has any extraordinary drug and alcohol abuse problems, Harkness said.

But because the school wants to help its students take a stand against illegal substances, and aid those at risk of abuse.

The new policy, announced Thursday, came after two years of research and discussion and retriggered an ongoing debate on the roles schools can and should play to influence their students’ lives.

Many members of Rockhurst’s junior class in the all-male school were involved in the conversations between school staff, trustees and parents as the policy was shaped.

Students in those meetings, like 17-year-old Matthew Brocato, anticipated some of the concerned reactions among students hearing the news for the first time, because he went through the same emotional swirl.

“When you hear ‘drug testing,’ you think cops,” Brocato said. “At first you’re taken aback. Is it for the better?”

But the purpose isn’t to punish students, he said. The school wants to help.

The first time a student tests positive, there will be no disciplinary consequences, but a confidential meeting will be held with a school counselor and the student’s parents.

A second positive test would go to the dean of students for possible discipline.

What students are learning through the process is that, while the pressure to use drugs or alcohol may sometimes be high, the actual amount of use among Rockhurst teens is not as high as many students think.

A testing policy will make it easier for students to turn down offers for drugs or beer.

“It’s helping the students out,” 16-year-old Dante Pennipede said. “I’ve seen kids succumb to peer pressure. This gives another reason not to.”

Rockhurst officials aren’t aware of any other Kansas City area schools that test all of their students. The nearest model they found was Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, an all-male religious private school that has been testing its students for six years.

Public schools’ drug-testing policies are restricted by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures. Supreme Court decisions have upheld public school policies that administer drug tests in limited ways, such as on students participating in extracurricular activities and students who drive themselves to school.

Several area public schools have limited testing policies.

Private schools, however, can test all students, just as private businesses can test prospective or current employees.

Organizations that oppose random drug testing of students argue that some research shows such policies do little to deter drug use.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Drug Policy Alliance’s 2006 report argued that drug testing is not worth the cost.

Schools risk false-positive drug tests, they say. The tests take dollars away from other prevention programs. They can undermine trust and drive away students who might otherwise have gotten help in other school programming.

“Nothing prohibits it,” said Doug Bonney, the legal director for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. “But it is a colossal waste of money.”

Like Rockhurst, Christian Brothers College High School weighed many of these concerns when it opted to test its students six years ago, said the school’s president, Mike England.

“In our mind, it was a student health issue,” he said. “It would be in the best interest of our students to give them a reason to say ‘no.’”

The St. Louis school has used the testing company Rockhurst will use, Psychemedics, to take hair samples from students to detect drug use and evidence of binge drinking.

Families pay an annual fee of $60 per student to cover the program’s costs, England said. As with Rockhurst’s plan, Christian Brothers does not discipline students if they test positive for drugs or alcohol once, but tries to provide support.

Students who test positive a second time are asked to withdraw, England said, which he estimated happens three to five times a year.

The school saw a dip in enrollment from about 1,000 students to 930 after it started the program in the 2007-2008 school year, he said. Some of the decline might have been a reaction to the policy, but the declining economy also probably hurt enrollment.

But support for the policy overall has been strong, he said, and the drug testing is continuing. More than 99 percent of the tests this year were negative, he said.

Harkness said Rockhurst’s costs will be similar to Christian Brothers’ and that the fees can be covered under the existing fee structure for families.

The school’s leaders determined the testing would be a valuable aid in helping students in a world that is much different than when Harkness was a 1981 Rockhurst graduate, he said.

Family life is different. Both parents more often are working. Students’ lives are more programmed with after-school commitments. Students are coping with more intense competition for college while managing 700 Facebook friends.

“It’s profoundly different,” Harkness said. “A lot is riding on them.”
I actually think it's a good idea, if it holds up also it'll help students out greatly if students follow the rules... Which most times people don't.
kakteed's avatar

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Quote:
The first time a student tests positive, there will be no disciplinary consequences, but a confidential meeting will be held with a school counselor and the student’s parents.

A second positive test would go to the dean of students for possible discipline.

What students are learning through the process is that, while the pressure to use drugs or alcohol may sometimes be high, the actual amount of use among Rockhurst teens is not as high as many students think.

A testing policy will make it easier for students to turn down offers for drugs or beer.

“It’s helping the students out,” 16-year-old Dante Pennipede said. “I’ve seen kids succumb to peer pressure. This gives another reason not to.”


That actually sounds really cool.
More than 99% of the tests were negative? Don't they have better things to spend their money on?
TommyKae's avatar

Shy Noob

Yay for massive invasions of privacy. You know what else this does to people, it sets them up for the future. If you begin testing all students for drugs in years to follow it becomes a learned trait. Then when that student becomes and adult they are ready to comply with everything they are asked, for the greater good of course. Kids are too chicken s**t to stand up for their rights because they aren't aware they have any.

Young people are so incredibly stupid it hurts sometimes. Youth in high school regardless of age go unrepresented in their communities. Government doesn;t really care about you they just care that parents will vote their way. If they did in fact care then why would they let you sign your life away in the military but not allow you to make an equally adult decision to have a couple of beers or buy cigarettes.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.This is a good thing. They should also penalize students for having underage sex.

Seriously, high school is for learning and not screwing around with stupidity.


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BETTER THAT A CHILD'S PROBLEM IS RECOGNIZED EARLY AND NIPPED AT THE BUD THAN HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF IT AT A DRUG REHABILITATION CENTER AMONG STRANGERS. IT'S MORE COST EFFECTIVE.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.This is a good thing. They should also penalize students for having underage sex.

Seriously, high school is for learning and not screwing around with stupidity.




It is not the school's place to determine what the students should do outside of school.
I was having underaged sex, and I smoked pot for about a year when I was a teen. However, I was having safe sex. I also graduated second of my class.

neutral
TommyKae
Yay for massive invasions of privacy. You know what else this does to people, it sets them up for the future. If you begin testing all students for drugs in years to follow it becomes a learned trait. Then when that student becomes and adult they are ready to comply with everything they are asked, for the greater good of course. Kids are too chicken s**t to stand up for their rights because they aren't aware they have any.

Young people are so incredibly stupid it hurts sometimes. Youth in high school regardless of age go unrepresented in their communities. Government doesn;t really care about you they just care that parents will vote their way. If they did in fact care then why would they let you sign your life away in the military but not allow you to make an equally adult decision to have a couple of beers or buy cigarettes.


Juveniles don't have the same rights as an adult and by law if a company requires a drug test, you can and will lose your job if you refuse it. Federal jobs have testing to the point of monthly. It doesn't go against privacy acts since drug usage is federal crime and since they are teens consequences need to be learned. There is also the point that the school has the shared responsibility to care of the child on their time and property. If the child is high on their time they can be held liable for any injuries the result. It actual smart of the school's part.
Because nothing says wasting money on things that could otherwise be spent on teachers or libraries like...
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.This is a good thing. They should also penalize students for having underage sex.

Seriously, high school is for learning and not screwing around with stupidity.




It is not the school's place to determine what the students should do outside of school.
I was having underaged sex, and I smoked pot for about a year when I was a teen. However, I was having safe sex. I also graduated second of my class.

neutral

Students can be disciplined for actions taken outside of school grounds, which is well within their rights.

Seriously, this is a good thing. Pot may not have affected your academic performance, but it has for other students—and there's y'know, the whole illegal substance aspect of the thing. Not to mention that this would also catch binge drinking and harder drugs.
I wouldn't agree to something like that unless they signed an agreement that the doctor would only tell them if I was drinking alcohol even if I was a minor. They would have to kick me out of school or would of had to. I don't go to school any longer, but if I had a child that is how I would be with my child too.

Fun fact, these kinds of tests can detect more than the just illegal drugs and other people have access to that information. Don't want people to know you have cancer? Too bad. Don't want people to know you have medical issues? Too bad. Don't want people to know you take birth control? Too bad.

In my opinion this just seems like a bad move by the school to control their students. I can see a lot of discrimination coming from this. I don't care if the law says it's not allowed. Some people will still discriminate over medical issues.

Shana OHara


Juveniles don't have the same rights as an adult and by law if a company requires a drug test, you can and will lose your job if you refuse it. Federal jobs have testing to the point of monthly. It doesn't go against privacy acts since drug usage is federal crime and since they are teens consequences need to be learned. There is also the point that the school has the shared responsibility to care of the child on their time and property. If the child is high on their time they can be held liable for any injuries the result. It actual smart of the school's part.


Seeing as how an employer can see by the tests if a person has other problems besides an addiction it does violate privacy rights. If I had adhd, or if I was currently taking something for my tourettes I had a right not to tell the employer. Although the employer gets around that by doing a drug test. And before anyone or you says this doesn't happen it does. I was told by several job coaches that this is a problem with drug testing. They have no right to know what other medical issues I have and until the system is fixed to where they can only see if I'm taking something illegal or not they shouldn't have the right to drug test. As it stands right now employers use drug testing to weasel their way out of hiring people because they don't want to pay the insurance for that person.

----

Not only that, but some people have been wrongly put in jail over false positive drug tests. Maybe some good will come from drug testing, but a lot of bad comes from drug testing.

Before anyone says that doesn't happen I don't know how many times it's been on the news that a baby lotion can seem like a certain drug for a drug test. And everyone knows the sesame thing. If that is your favorite type of seed too bad. Unless you want to be convicted you can't eat it.
TommyKae's avatar

Shy Noob

Shana OHara
TommyKae


Juveniles don't have the same rights as an adult and by law if a company requires a drug test, you can and will lose your job if you refuse it. Federal jobs have testing to the point of monthly. It doesn't go against privacy acts since drug usage is federal crime and since they are teens consequences need to be learned. There is also the point that the school has the shared responsibility to care of the child on their time and property. If the child is high on their time they can be held liable for any injuries the result. It actual smart of the school's part.


These aren't test to tell if they are high at the moment but if they've gotten high out side of work. And you're right they don't have the same rights but they also don't have the sense to stand up and say enough is enough.

I just disagree with this process. If you show a child that you have no trust in them what will that do to them in the future.
TommyKae
Shana OHara
TommyKae


Juveniles don't have the same rights as an adult and by law if a company requires a drug test, you can and will lose your job if you refuse it. Federal jobs have testing to the point of monthly. It doesn't go against privacy acts since drug usage is federal crime and since they are teens consequences need to be learned. There is also the point that the school has the shared responsibility to care of the child on their time and property. If the child is high on their time they can be held liable for any injuries the result. It actual smart of the school's part.


These aren't test to tell if they are high at the moment but if they've gotten high out side of work. And you're right they don't have the same rights but they also don't have the sense to stand up and say enough is enough.

I just disagree with this process. If you show a child that you have no trust in them what will that do to them in the future.


Not only that, but it violates privacy rights by letting them see more than just the illegal substance. A drug test can also turn up a false positive as well. There have been many products that people have taken that have made it look like they were on an illegal substance. In the news a couple months ago it seemed that a couple babies were on an illegal substance when it was just a certain chemical in the baby oil. Families were severely hurt.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.This is a good thing. They should also penalize students for having underage sex.

Seriously, high school is for learning and not screwing around with stupidity.




It is not the school's place to determine what the students should do outside of school.
I was having underaged sex, and I smoked pot for about a year when I was a teen. However, I was having safe sex. I also graduated second of my class.

neutral
Pot should be legal soon anyways. But yeah sex isnt end of the world. In fact I wish I got some crying lol my first sexual dreams I had was when I was 5. *shrugs* I think society is still crazy from stuff like the middle ages, but its probably how we ended up having progress of thought anyways. Just sometimes it doesnt seem fast enough lol.

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