Why test for drugs in Hayden? Behind the Headlines

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Q. You have said two students were caught with marijuana last year, and there are several students also suspected of using. Are there any other drugs suspected besides marijuana?

A. I suspect that from 50 percent to 80 percent of our students are at least occasional users of marijuana. By that I mean they use marijuana at sometime during the year. I suspect that about 10 percent to 15 percent are heavy users. By that I mean that they smoke marijuana almost every day. I do suspect that some students use methamphetamine and ecstasy, and probably several other drugs and alcohol.

Q. What are the consequences a student will face if a drug test comes back positive?

A. If a random test is positive, the student's parents will be notified about the results, as will the school resource officer. Parents will be given a list of resources that are available to treat substance-abuse problems, and students will be required to retest.
Students also will lose the privilege to leave campus for lunch for a specific time. Consequences will become more severe with continued drug use.
Any positive drug tests also will be addressed by the Athletics and Activities Handbook.

Q. What happens if a parent refuses to give the school consent to give a random drug test to their child?
A. Parents have the choice of allowing their child to leave campus for lunch and to be included in the voluntary random drug testing pool, or to remain on campus for lunch and not be included in the random pool.

Q. With 80 percent of the students leaving campus for lunch last year, does the school lunchroom have the capacity to serve the greater number of students who have said they will stay on campus?

A. Yes. The lunchroom has the capacity to serve all of our students, although there would be some logistical changes required if a large percentage of the students choose to eat school lunches.

Q. How will you measure the success of this policy? Will this be a policy that you can foresee being part of the high school program for a long time? How long?

A. The success of this program will be measured in several ways.
First, a reduction in the number of positive drug tests from our student body throughout the year, and second, a reduction in the number of students who are displaying symptoms of being under the influence of drugs while at school.
Another measure will be private and public conversations with parents and students concerning the success of the program. Lastly, we will survey our students and community toward the end of the year to see if they feel the program has been successful.
I feel this program will be a part of the high school program until there is no longer a need for this type of safety measure for our students.

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