WADSWORTH — Wadsworth High School will join three districts next school year who have instituted random drug testing.
After a year of discussions, the Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve random drug testing.
In Medina County, Brunswick, Medina and Highland schools conduct drug screenings for students participating in extracurricular activities.
The program will begin in August for the 2017-18 school year. The district will contract with Great Lakes Biomedical of Perrysburg to conduct random alcohol, drug and nicotine testing.
The Medina County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health board will commit $6,000, and the district will look for additional ways to fund the policy expected to cost about $20,000 per year, Superintendent Andrew Hill has said.
Hill said that under the agreement, Great Lakes randomly will select students to be tested and be on-site collecting the urine samples.
No staff from the school district will be involved with the selection and collection process.
School officials estimate that of the 1,600 students at the high school, 1,000 students would be eligible to be tested under three categories of the policy:
- those participating in any extracurricular activity or club (not tied to an academic grade);
- those who drive to school and purchase a parking pass;
- those who consent to an “opt-in” program.
Hill previously said the opt-in program would allow parents of students who are not part of the groups listed to say, “Hey, you can test my kid, too.”
Board members weighed in on the issue at the meeting attended by about 40 people at the McIlvaine Center for the Performing Arts at the high school.
“This is one of the most important votes” the board has taken, Mark Casalinova said.
Julie Batey said she thought the feedback from the community was helpful.
She added she hopes for continued input from students and the community as the policy is enacted so improvements can be made where needed.
Jody McDougal said, “If we save one student” from becoming addicted to substances, the policy is worthwhile.
Another board member, Amanda Gordon, suggested that gathering information on the policy after the first semester of the 2017-18 academic year could lead to program improvements.
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