BY ALYSSA CHRISTIAN (‘19)
The new substance abuse policy that was put into effect this school year is still being debated among students on a regular basis. The first round of random drug testing was on Sept. 25, two days after Homecoming night.
Many students were upset about this choice, especially after one student was called down to be tested, even though she had been opted out. This was merely a result of “human error” principal Matthew Durst said.
The Extracurricular Substance Abuse Policy explicitly states that “random testing of the participant pool will take place.”
I understand that there needs to be a solution that will put an end to substance abuse among students, and I think that this is an effective way to begin to prevent this.
However, I still believe that there is a long road ahead of us before that will happen.
I think that part of the reason that it is difficult to come up with a solution to end substance abuse is because the school has to make sure that they do not infringe on the rights of any parties involved. This is one of the reasons why it is random and does not choose particular students.
The school itself does not draw for the random testing. The school sends a list of all participants whose parents have signed the opt-in form and the number of students that they want to be tested. For the first round of testing, twenty students were chosen to be randomly tested. The company that does the testing then sent a list of names of the twenty people that had been randomly chosen to the school.
If a student is tested and the results come back positive, only the parents will be informed if it is the first round of testing.
In my opinion, I agree with the idea of letting the parents have the say in whether or not their child will be tested. Different parents have different opinions on the subject, so by allowing them to have their input on the subject, at least some of the controversy is put to rest in the eyes of the parents.
However, not all of the students are appeased. I believe that much of this stems from them believing the rumors that fly around the school such as the drug testing not being random, or they are upset with the fact that they began drug testing right after Homecoming.
Since this substance abuse policy has only started this year, I also think that people are trying to get accustomed to the idea of their peers who are opted in being randomly tested. Once it has been around for a few years, or possibly even just for this year, I think that much of this controversy will settle down.
It is important to keep in mind is that the school’s intentions for the students are to keep them safe, healthy and to aid them in making decisions that will positively impact them for their future.