Your high school student has just arrived home after a long day of classes and basketball practice. When you ask how their day was, part of their response surprises you – “Oh, and I took a drug test today.” Why is your child undergoing drug testing on school property?
The practice of student drug testing has gained momentum recently as drug positivity rates rise, but it has been legal since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2002. While employment drug testing is widely accepted, many parents and students question the necessity of drug screening at school.
Why drug test students?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), many schools opt for screening students to decrease drug use and misuse among students and potentially provide the benefits of early intervention for students. The intent is to deter students from succumbing to peer and societal pressures surrounding drug use.
Which students can be drug tested?
The Supreme Court ruled that drug testing for students is only legal if random, and only those who participate in voluntary activities are eligible for the random pool. Eligible students include athletes, social club members, and those that drive to campus. As it is the law to attend school, so students that simply present to learn are not eligible. Additionally, some schools have policies that allow parents to opt their children into the drug screening program.
What methods can be used to screen the students?
The available drug testing methods for schools are the same as for businesses. Most choose traditional urine, hair, or oral fluid testing. As more schools adopt random drug screening programs, the oral fluid option is becoming most popular due to its efficiency. “Oral fluid testing is a simple test that involves a swab of the cheek. It’s an observed test that is easily done on site,” explained Scott Kitchens, Vice President of Drug Testing and Health Services at ESS.
Parents can rest easy knowing that their students are being drug tested to protect their health and that of other students. For schools, it’s important to follow the law when building a drug testing program. Click here to learn more about student drug testing, or contact us to evaluate your drug testing options at firstname.lastname@example.org