Random drug tests are routine for private schools but few area public schools are doing it, even with the opioid crisis. Among the reasons they give for skipping testing include: it's not the best way to partner with families, there's a lack of scientific data on effectiveness, and the issue just hasn't come up.
Mason City Schools tried random drug testing in 2000, even retaining the right to test any student who drove to school. But Spokeswoman Tracey Carson says the district stopped two years later because, "We did not find it to be effective at reducing drug use and felt like it wasn't a great way for us to partner with families who might have been struggling with drug abuse."
Mason hasn't done random drug testing since and instead opts to work hard to get students involved in clubs, the arts and athletics because according to Carson, "Having our students connected to their school is a more effective deterrent for drug abuse."
Lakota's Assistant Superintendent Robb Vogelmann says the district has discussed randomly selecting students to use breathalyzers at prom but "It hasn't gone any further than discussion." He says, the district is always evaluating but, "We have not had enough high level concerns or serious repeated violations that would prompt us to take this action."
Lebanon's Superintendent Todd Yohey says random drug testing hasn't come up during his tenure and, "I do not expect a conversation anytime soon about random drug testing."
There are local public school districts that have random drug testing:
- Edgewood (since 2005)
- Milford (2006)
- Waynesville (2015)
- New Richmond (2015)
- Williamsburg (2016)
When Milford began random drug testing it was the first year high school Assistant Principal Tom Willson became an administrator. He says, "I had parents coming at me, 'Why are you doing this. You're violating my kid's rights.' At the end of the day it's a board decision. I act on behalf of the board in a sense. The end goal is, I have kids, I want to make sure they're healthy and make sure they're safe."
Recently Willson noticed opioids in the mix for the few students who test positive.
In Northern Kentucky, the list of schools is growing that are including drug-free clubs. This is where students submit voluntarily to drug tests.