Kansas Town To Randomly Drug Test Its Students

EL DORADO, Kan. – The El Dorado school district has implemented a new school policy requiring all students wishing to participate in extracurricular activities to undergo random drug testing.

The new policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri is questioning as unconstitutional, prohibits middle and high school students who don’t sign consent forms from attending games and school dances, joining clubs, or even parking their car on school property.

Though no one has been tested yet, some students have already called the practice an invasion of privacy. Others believe the testing may drive students away from extracurricular activities altogether, thus increasing their chances of being exposed to drugs on the street. Most El Dorado students and parents, however, support the testing, despite the fact that the town has had no serious history with drug abuse among its youth.

Administrators claim that they will not report positive test results to the police and will not cancel a student’s academic participation, but they will notify parents and suspend offenders from extracurricular activities. The penalty begins at a two week suspension and escalates to more than four months for repeat violations.

With the aid of a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that upheld a Tecumseh, Okla., school’s drug testing policy, as well as federal money geared toward promoting student drug testing, many schools have begun implementing drug testing programs of their own. Last year the nation’s schools received $7.5 million in grants from the federal government to implement such programs.

Approximately 2,000 public and private districts conduct drug tests, according to the White House. The National School Boards Association estimates that about 5 percent of public school districts test athletes and 2 percent test students involved in extracurricular activities.

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