St. John's to start drug testing students, faculty in the fall

Starting in the fall, students and faculty at St. John's will be subjected to random drug tests.
Starting in the fall, students and faculty at St. John's will be subjected to random drug tests.

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Stating in the fall, students at St. John's Jesuit High School & Academy will have to be prepared for more than just coursework. They will also have to be ready for random drug tests.

Instead of the standard urine analysis, the school has decided to do hair testing since it can pick up drug use for a longer period of time.

They are not requiring only students to participate. All employees of the school, including teachers and even the administration, are subject to testing.

"I think you have to lead by example. I think you really have to step up and show students, and faculty as well, that this is the right thing to do," said Principal Brad Bonham.

Administrators said the decision to do random drug testing is the result of years of research, coupled with input from students and their parents.

Assistant Principal Spencer Root remembers the pressures of being urged to do drugs as a teenager. He said anything that will help make saying no easier is something that interests school administrators.

"We would want them to stay away from it regardless to what policy we have. This, in a way, is a positive pressure to stay away from it, and it helps combat the negative peer pressures that go along with substances," said Root.

In the fall, an outside company will assign everyone a number and will randomly select people to provide a hair sample.

Positive tests will not mean disciplinary action. Instead, the person will be referred to evaluation, counseling, and treatment. They will also be subjected to a follow-up testing.

Bonham said substance abuse is a problem everywhere and the policy is about helping, not condemning.

"When we look at it, we don't feel that we, at St. John's, have it worse than other places. But we have to acknowledge that substance abuse is an issue. And I think we have the opportunity to do the right thing, and we took advantage of that," explained Bonham.

Administrators want to provide help to students who are battling a problem and said the drug testing is an extra tool at no cost.

"It's per test. We have the flexibility to test any percentage of students we deem fitting to be effective with this policy. It's $40 per test and that's something that's already worked into our budget here. So it's not something that's coming out of the pocket of the parents," said Root.

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