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Henderson County Schools Random Student Drug Testing Policy FAQ

1.) Why did Henderson County Schools draft a policy to randomly drug test students?
Our focus is to ensure that students have healthy mind & body. We hope random testing will serve as a deterrent and give students a reason to resist peer pressure to take drugs. Drug testing can identify teens who have started using drugs and would be good targets for early intervention, as well as identify those who already have drug problems, so they can be referred for treatment. Using drugs not only interferes with a student's ability to learn, but it can also disrupt the teaching environment, affecting other students as well.

The policy reflects our Core Values: Cultivate a community where character matters.
2.) Why test teenagers at all?

Adolescents’ brains and bodies are still developing, and this makes them especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of drug use. Most teens do not use drugs, but for those who do, it can lead to a wide range of adverse effects on their behavior and health.

Short term: Even a single use of an intoxicating drug can affect a person's judgment and decision making—resulting in accidents, poor performance in school or sports activities, unplanned risky behavior, and the risk of overdosing.

Long term: Repeated drug use can lead to serious problems, such as poor academic outcomes, mood changes (depending on the drug: depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis), and social or family problems caused or worsened by drugs.

Repeated drug use can also lead to the disease of addiction. Studies show that the earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop a substance use disorder or addiction. Conversely, if teens stay away from drugs while in high school, they are less likely to develop a substance use disorder later in life.

3.) Is the random drug testing policy legal?
In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs. Voting 5 to 4 in Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the court ruled to allow random drug tests for all middle and high school students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. The ruling greatly expanded the scope of school drug testing, which previously had been allowed only for student athletes.

4.) Will all students at Henderson County High School, North Middle School, and South Middle School be tested?
This student drug-testing policy will only apply to middle school and high school students choosing to participate in any athletic / extracurricular activities, students who apply for a permit to park on school property, and students that “opt-in” to the program.

5.) How many students will be tested?
On a random selection basis, from a list of all students in the testing pool, up to ten (10) students from HCHS, and three (3) students from South Middle School and three (3) from North Middle School may be drawn at random to be tested approximately once a week.

6.) What will the process look like?
Each student who plans to participate in any sport and/or extracurricular activity outlined in this policy and his/her parent or guardian shall be required to sign a written consent for drug/alcohol testing as a prerequisite to the student’s participation in an athletic program. Likewise, any student applying for a parking permit his/her parent or guardian shall be required to sign a written consent .

Once a week students will be randomly selected to be drug tested.

The confidential drug test would be administered by a professional laboratory that would have the written specifications to ensure the chain of custody for the specimen, along with proper lab control. If the lab monitor feels that the test has been tampered with, they can halt the test and notify the principal. The principal then determines if a new sample is needed.

7.) How accurate are drug tests? Is there a possibility a test could give a false positive?
Tests are very accurate but not 100 percent accurate. Usually samples are divided so that if an initial test is positive a confirmation test can be conducted. Federal guidelines are in place to ensure accuracy and fairness in drug testing programs.

8.) Will parents be notified when their child is randomly selected?
Yes. Parents will be notified when their child is randomly selected.

9.) Will parents/guardians have to pay for the tests?
There will be no costs for parents/guardians for the testing.
Funding for the tests will likely come from Safe Schools grant money, community support, grants, and the general fund. The estimated cost is between $12,000 to $13,000.

10.) Can parents opt their child out of the testing?
If a parent opts out of the random drug testing, their student will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities or receiving a parking permit.

11.) Can I opt my child “in” to the program to receive random testing?
Yes. Parents will have the option to opt their student into the testing program if their child is not involved in an extracurricular activity or have a parking permit.

12.) I have a child that is involved in sports activities all year. Will they be tested all year?
Yes. We will test August-May. Even if a student is only involved in 1 sport activity he/she will remain in the random testing group for the entire year. 

13.) What are the consequences for testing positive?
1st Offense- For the first offense, the participant shall be suspended from any and all participation in any and all contests and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended for four (4) weeks from the date of the initial positive test.
2nd Offense- For the second offense, the participant will be suspended from any and all participation in any and all activities and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended for eighteen (18) weeks from the date of the confirmation of the positive test.
3rd Offense- For all subsequent offenses, the participant will be suspended from participation in all in-season or off-season activities and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended/revoked for three hundred sixty five (365) calendar days from the date of the confirmation of the positive test.
Any violation of this policy that occurs a student is classified as being in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade, shall be cumulative in considering the level of offense. Provided all criteria outlined in this policy have been met, students shall enter high school with a clean slate. Any violation of this policy which occurs after completion of the 8th grade shall be considered as a first offense, regardless of whether the student had a previous violation of the policy in grades 6-8

Students are required to take an additional drug screening test at the end of the suspension time before returning to extracurricular activities.

The primary purpose of drug testing is not to punish students who use drugs but to prevent drug abuse and to help students already using become drug-free.

14.) What steps will be taken to provide education, information, and counseling to a student that fails the drug test?
Henderson County Schools will provide educational information and counseling to students who test positive.

15.) What about the privacy of testing students?
We will be using an outside agency for the testing. The agency will keep the personal information confidential.

16.) Are other Kentucky public schools doing this?
Yes. There are 99 Kentucky public school systems that already have a drug-testing policy in place.

17.) When will the policy be implemented?
The policy will be implemented for the 2017-2018 school year.

 18.) Does Henderson County Schools test teachers and staff?

 Yes – we randomly screen 25 employees per month. Additionally bus drivers are selected out of a different pool so more than 25 monthly are chosen to be tested.

If an employee tests positive, it is sent to a national lab for it to be screened for more detailed results. Once those results come back, we consult with the employee to match those results to any listed prescriptions. If these things do not match or the substance is deemed to be illegal, we then carry out the guidelines outlined in our board policies to deal with employees accordingly. (policy 03.13251 and 06.221)

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