The new drug testing policy at one local high school has sent a ripple through Kansas City.
Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, Rockhurst High School will be collecting hair samples from students for random drug testing – and participation is mandatory.
Officials at the Jesuit school tell 41 Action News approximately 60 strands of hair will be cut from the selected students’ heads or bodies (private areas excluded) and sent off for testing by a company called Psychemedics. A staff member at Rockhurst is a barber and will be handling the hair collection.
The school will test for the use of a variety of substances over the previous 90 days, including cocaine, PCP, opiates, methamphetamine, marijuana and binge alcohol.
“Our point is, if we do encounter a student who has made some bad decisions with drugs or alcohol, we will be able to intervene, get the parents involved, get him help if necessary, and then help him get back on a path of better decision making, healthier choices for his life,” Rockhurst Principal Greg Harkness said.
According to the new policy, if a student tests positive for any of the substances, the guidance counselor assigned to that student is notified. The counselor will then bring in the parents and the student to have a conversation about how to best get the student help.
The student is given 90 days to be drug free. No administrative personnel are ever told, and the incident is only noted in the student’s guidance file. That file is destroyed upon graduation and never sent to any college or university. The only way anyone would ever see the documents is if files were subpoenaed.
So what led to the school’s new drug policy?
The answer is at least five-fold: a significant change in students’ perceptions, natural teen transformation, publicized changes with marijuana in our country, new research on brain development and the Internet.