Question: Why is the school district drug testing students?
Answer: District leaders hope to identify students who are struggling with substance abuse and get them help through counseling programs. No specific instance triggered the new testing requirement, they say.
Q: Which students will be tested?
A: A random sampling of high school athletes will be tested throughout the new school year. A random sampling of students participating in extracurricular activities will be tested starting next school year, and a sampling of student drivers will be added in the '17-'18 school year. But district leaders may speed up the three-year timeline.
Q: What if I do NOT want my student tested?
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A: A parent can opt out by not signing the consent form or withdrawing a signed form. But once that is done, the student cannot participate in athletics or other extracurricular activities or drive to school in future years.
Q: What if I want my student tested?
A: Parents who want their students tested, even if the students are not participating in athletics or extracurriculars, can fill out a consent form (available on the district's website) and turn it in to the district.
Q: Why doesn't the district test teachers and administrators, too?
A: Law only allows testing for employees if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use. But the school board has discussed requesting coaches to voluntarily submit to testing.
Q: What happens if a student gets a positive result on a drug test?
A: For a first positive test, a student will be banned from extracurricular activities and parking on campus for 365 days. But a student can get a reprieve by receiving an assessment by a licensed substance-abuse professional and completing at least one treatment session within 10 days of the positive test. The student would then have to pass another drug test within 30 to 90 days after the first failed test.
For a second failed test, a student could regain eligibility by completing a substance-abuse program and passing another drug test.
A student would be ineligible for extracurricular activities and parking for 365 days for a third failed test and would have to complete a substance-abuse program and pass another drug test to be eligible the next year.
Drugs the tests are looking for
Opiates (OcyContin, Vicodin)
Adulterants used to prevent drug detection
Students may be tested for other drugs that are illegal for minors at the recommendation of a test administrator and with approval from the school district superintendent.
Source: Beaufort County School District