Private School To Start Drug-Testing Students

Brookstone School, a private school in Columbus, made an announcement on Wednesday about their decision to implement drug-testing for its oldest students. The drug test for grades 8 to 12 students will begin as voluntary for the next school year, but should become mandatory in the following years.

According to Brookstone's new release, the goals of the policy is both preventive and proactive, with main focus on the health and well-being of the students. The new policy aims to provide reasons for students to say no in an environment that's safe and supportive as students receive the much-needed education on drug use. As the nation faces drug crisis that impacts all communities and schools, Brookstone School is committed to address this national issue.

The news release also said that the drug-testing will allow the school to work closely with the parents and health professionals, thereby enhancing the school's ability to encourage students to get the help that they need and shift their path. The school has about 800 students from 3K to Grade 12. This includes 370 students from Grades 8 to 12, Brookstone's communications director, Connie Mansour has told Ledger-Enquirer.

Brookstone said in an FAQ that its research about other school's practices found out the importance of administering drug test programs in drug use prevention.

Drug Testing Procedure

Brookstone is planning to use Psychemedics Corporation which is based in Acton, Mass. for the drug testing of the students using hair samples. The school's staff will be sending the samples to Psychemedics, which will in turn send the results in no more than four days.

Based on Brookstone's FAQ, the voluntary drug testing results during the next school year will be sent to the parents or guardians only who will pay the drug test. In an interview, Lester also said that, beginning August 2019 all the grades 8 to 12 students of Brookstone School will undergo drug testing at least once every school year. At least twice per school year, 25 percent will be tested randomly and another 3 percent is going to be tested a third time randomly. The random picks will be computer-generated and the students will not be notified prior to the drug test.

The FAQ said that the Brookstone Head of School will notify students along with their parents or guardians should a drug test result turns positive. The student will be mandated to meet with a licensed counselor for an assessment. The family will then decide for a treatment. The family of each students will be charged for the drug testing.

One positive test result will require a student to be tested again at least once during the same school year. A student will be considered positive if he or she refuses to provide a hair sample.

A second positive test will require the student for another drug test and this time the recommended treatment becomes mandatory. Until the counselor and attending physician has not recommended the student to return to school, the student shall not be attending Brookstone.

Should a student get a positive result for the third time, the student will have the chance to either withdraw from Brookstone or choose to get dismissed.

The school's Board of Trustees has been studying the issue five years ago. Lester has acknowledged that some parents criticized the policy although the concern is more about how the policy is going to be implemented.

Some schools hesitate about drug testing their students due to the costs involved and the legal complexities associated with the issue. But, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US Supreme Court has allowed public schools to conduct drug test to its students.