High School Drug Testing for Xanax, it’s Happening
Testing students for illegal drug use has been an idea that has been bouncing around for a while now. One school district in South Carolina has decided to turn all the talk into action.
Beaufort County School District is among one of the school districts that has decided to start drug testing its students for various drugs such as Xanax. This 2015-2016 school year it will only be testing student athletes. However, the plan is to roll out testing other students in steps. Next school year it will include any student that is involved in extracurricular activities of any kind, the year after that any student that drives will be added to the group that can get drug tested.
Not every student that is a part of the eligible group will be tested, the students included will be randomly selected.
Why it’s Happening
Two schools in this district, Beaufort High and Hilton Head High have both publicly struggled with students abusing drugs. It’s been reported that these schools have had a large number of students abusing Xanax and over the counter cough syrup.
Although, it is important to note that BCSD said that this new policy is not in response to those incidents, the abuse of Xanax by high school students is a big problem.
The CDC has released a recent survey stating that around 20 percent of high school students admitted using prescription medication that was not prescribed to them.
Over half of those students are abusing Xanax.
The intent of testing the students is not to get them in legal trouble, it is in hopes to identify the students that have a problem and get them help. In fact, BCSD’s policy for failed drug tests doesn’t involve law enforcement at all.
As listed on the BCSD website:
- The student shall be ineligible for participation in extra-curricular activities (of, effective August, 2017, use of a parking permit on campus) for 365 calendar days.
- In order to maintain eligibility, within ten (10) calendar days of notification of positive test, the student or his/her parent/guardian must provide the Principal or his/her designee with written evidence from a licensed substance abuse professional the student has been assessed
- Failure to provide written evidence of successful completion or extension shall render the student ineligible for 365 calendar days or until written evidence is provided, whichever first occurs.
- The student shall be subject to a mandatory retest after thirty (30) calendar days but within ninety (90) calendar days of the first positive test.
With each offence the process for the student to get his or her eligibility back becomes a little more difficult.
Why it’s Allowed to Happen
The Supreme Court ruled in The Board of Education vs Earls drug testing students that are participating in extracurricular activities was in fact legal. The authority of the Board of Education to regulate extracurricular activities, diminished to expectation of privacy.
The document also stats that
“Given that the School District’s Policy is not in any way related to the conduct of criminal investigations, see Part II-B, infra, respondents do not contend that the School District requires probable cause before testing students for drug use.”
The BCSD does give parent the right to opt out of the drug testing, but in doing so the student will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities for 365 day from when the form is filled out.