Schools Turn to Random Drug Tests

By: Kelly Sparks
By: Kelly Sparks

Some high school students are taking a test they won’t even receive a grade for, or even have to study for in advance.

More than 30 of Kentucky’s 176 school districts require drug tests at some level.

Drug testing has become more common in the last decade. Schools employ drug testing as a means to deter drug use and ensure student safety.

Warren County Schools adopted optional drug testing in 1998 and the program involves their 3 high schools.

School officials say the program is a success and it gives students another reason to “just say no.”

Angela Kitchens has participated in the optional drug-testing program since she was a freshman.

“Sometimes you get picked, sometimes you don't."

The Greenwood High Senor says she participates in the optional drug program to prove she’s drug-free.

“I play sports, get good grades, so I have everything to lose."

Students like Kitchens say you’d be surprised how easy it is to get drugs.

"There’s like everything, obviously like weed, pot, even cocaine. I know people's who’s done that."

School officials say for this reason, the optional drug program was enforced as a positive way for students to resist peer pressure and temptation.

"I like it, I think it’s a positive program."

Director of Student Support Services for Warren County, Randall Jackson says their school system has an 85-90% participation rate. Right now, only athletes and cheerleaders are tested.

"For a school district to require it of every child, whether they play a sport or not would require a lot of data and also much more legal counseling before they sign into an agreement like that."

Many students say drugs seem to be a problem among people their age, but hope this optional drug program will make them think twice before they act.

Jackson says in a year’s time they’ll test around 225 students. If a child fails the drug test there are a series of consequences.

Jackson says since the program began in 1998 there has been very few to fail the drug test and those few that did, have not failed a second time.


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