Jackson Board of Education approves new drug testing policy for - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson Board of Education approves new drug testing policy for students

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)

Jackson High School students involved in athletics and extra-curricular activities will be subject to random drug tests starting in the coming school year.

The Jackson Board of Education unanimously approved the new policy at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Jackson R-2 School District superintendent Dr. John Link said random drug testing gives students another reason to say no.

“We’re not going to be the drug task force, we’re not here to stop drug use in Cape County, but we want to give our kids an opportunity, a deterrent, so if they’re in a situation at some point in time they’ve got a reason to say no,” Link said.

The policy subjects any student involved in Missouri State High School Activities Association sanctioned events to mandated random drug tests.

Urine samples will be collected from students in the nurse's office and will be sent out for analysis.

The tests will be handled by Essential Benefits Offerings. If a test comes back positive, the sample will be sent to a lab in Memphis for further analysis and to ensure student privacy, according to Link.

Thirty students per month during the school year will be randomly selected to get tested.

“We’re not looking at this as a ‘gotcha’ type policy but what we really want is we just want our students to understand, and I think they do, that when you represent Jackson and you’re a Jackson Indian, we’re going to do things the right way,” Link said.

If a student fails the test, Link said, he or she will be suspended from competition but will be allowed to continue practicing with the team or group.

In the event of a non-negative test, the testing company will notify school officials who will work with the student and his or her family to provide educational resources necessary.

“If someone does have a non-negative, it automatically flags our social workers who then begins working with the family to provide resources, to give them opportunities as a family to come together and educate not only the student but the family,” Link said.

The student will have to partake in a drug education course before being reinstated to play.

Link said in the past the district has not had a prominent issue with students and drug use, but this policy would fall in line with rules other districts around the state already have in place.

“As educators we want to give those kids every opportunity to make good choices,” he said. “All it takes is one child to be able to say no and to save them from going down that road to make that an effective use.”

Link said the tests will cost the district $5,000 to $6,000 per year.

The policy will take effect September 1.

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