Random Drug Testing to Begin in Wisconsin School


Administrators at Crivitz High School in Wisconsin have announced that drug tests will be randomly given throughout the coming school year. Many believe that the tests will be given to students who are suspected of taking drugs due to their appearance, while other students will not be asked to submit to the testing.

Jackson Marciana, writing for Counter Current News, quotes Jeff Dorschner, Crivitz High School Athletic Director, who said:

"The last couple years, I've noticed here in the high school we've started to get a growing drug problem, I think we've always kind of had a drug problem here in Marinette County. More or less, [we will be] identifying the problem, getting the parents involved, getting our counselors involved and providing a way for students to get back on the right track,"

Legally, this type of testing, random and without probable cause, is prohibited, but school leaders seem to have found a loophole. Students who are involved in extracurricular activities or have a parking pass can be tested as non-students. Dorschner explained that participating in extracurricular activities and parking in the school parking lot are both privileges, not rights.

The testing will be funded by the Bay Area Medical Center, which will give the school the ID numbers of five students every two weeks to be tested. Dorschner said the new policy will be worth it if even one kid is helped and put back on track. Critics are worried, however, that students who use certain substances like marijuana will be tested and other students, like athletes using steroids, will be ignored.

In Avon, Ohio, during an informational meeting this week parents questioned the new drug-testing policy which will begin this school year. Any 7th- to 12th-grader who has a parking pass or is enrolled in at least one extracurricular activity can be randomly selected for testing, reports Elizabeth Dobbins for The Chronicle-Telegram.

"We're not trying to see how many kids we can catch or anything like that," Athletic Director Erich Frombach said during the meeting. "I want to give them a reason, an option to say ‘no' (to drugs or alcohol)."

Approximately 800 to 900 of the 1,200 students at Avon High School, or about 70%, will meet the criteria for being tested. Frombach explained that the tests cost about $15 each, depending on the type of test chosen, and the school has a budget of $6,000 to $8,000, approved by the school board, so the goal is to test about half the student population during the year.

Students who test positive will be suspended from at least 20% of the extracurricular or athletic season and will be required to meet with a dependency counselor. A second positive test will result in suspension for 50% of the season. and the student will be required to undergo weekly or random testing and will visit a counselor. Parents can request to have their child tested, which several parents had already done.

Naturally, some parents had concerns, like having kids gossiping about their child's results on the test or the logistics of the urine test. Teens who test positive while on certain medications such as prescription medicines for ADHD will be able to have their parents bring a list of their medications to the school.

Frombach said the district will have the flexibility to pick which drugs are going to be targeted in the testing. This is good, he says, because police can help identify the drugs that have become popular so that a specific drug can be added to the drug list for school testing.

"We have great kids, we love our kids," Frombach said. "This is no zero-tolerance policy. We're trying to help these kids."

Crivitz High School is not the only Wisconsin high school that has implemented a drug testing program. Kimberly High School students have been doing it for the past 14 years, writes Jason Zimmerman for WBAY-TV.

Principal Mike Reitveld said, "It's actually become part of the culture at Kimberly High School. The first year there were a lot of questions, a little bit of opposition but now it's part of what we are and who we stand for in terms of wanting to provide a culture that's drug and alcohol free."

Students numbering 1,266 out of a total population of 1,458 have joined the drug testing pool made up of those who are in extracurricular activities, those who buy a parking permit, and those who have signed up for a group called Life Force made up of students who pledge to be drug- and alcohol-free. However, there are opponents.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics really questions whether that's a worthwhile investment for schools to make when in reality there are really limited dollars to target substance abuse support programs," said Dr. Sharon Levy, past chair of the Committee on Substance Abuse for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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