High School To Enforce Mandatory Drug Testing

Monday, February 4th 2008, 10:46 pm
By: News On 6

Some local high school students won't just have to pass exams to stay in school. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports Bishop Kelley High School will start mandatory drug testing of every single student, next year.

Bishop Kelley is on a crusade to end illegal student drug use. Starting next year, students won't just promise to be drug free, they'll have to prove it.

"Our goal is not to catch kids. Our goal is to help kids," said Bishop Kelley High School Principal Alan Weyland.

Principal Alan Weyland said help begins with identifying who has a problem. So, all of Bishop Kelley's 870 students will be tested for drugs starting in the fall of 2008. Testing positive once will get you a meeting with the dean and your parents. If you test positive twice, your career at Bishop Kelley is over.

"I think a lot of kids, most kids, are going to say, 'I go to Bishop Kelley. I like going to Bishop Kelley. I don't want to risk being asked to leave," said Weyland.

Students will be asked to leave a lock of hair for testing, which some said is a small price to pay.

"I'm all for it. Like all my friends have been saying, there's nothing for me to hide; so, test me," said Bishop Kelley Junior Katherine Devonshire.

"Well, if giving a piece of my hair is all that I need to do to help one kid stay off of drugs, then I'll do it," said Bishop Kelley Junior Payton Fesperman.

Weyland said the hair test by Psychemedics is harder to fake than a urine test and it shows a 90 day history. According to Psychemedics' website, it will detect marijuana, cocaine, meth, and ecstasy.      

But, a new national anti-drug ad shows the teen drug of choice is increasingly prescription drugs. The Psychemedics hair test doesn't screen for all of them.

"There are a number that are being tested, and there's a few that to be honest aren't; and because the testing is so difficult. As we've told our community throughout this two and a half year process, it's not a panacea," said Weyland.      

The News On 6 spoke with several Bishop Kelley parents on Monday and everyone seemed to be in favor of the new policy. The Psychemedics drug test doesn't just require a strand or two of your hair; it's a snippet about the size of the end of this shoe lace.