EDMOND — Eight students have tested positive for drugs at Edmond's three high schools since a random drug testing program for students participating in extracurricular activities started a year ago.
Four of the students attend Memorial High School.
Three tested positive at North High School and one at Santa Fe High School, school district spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said.
Over a 10-month period, 750 students were tested at the district's three high schools. No testing is done in summer.
The genders and grade levels of the students testing positive and the types of drug detected were not released by the district.
“The testing sessions have become routine at our high schools,” said Debbie Bendick, Edmond's executive director of secondary education. “Our OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association) student participants, their parents and their teachers and coaches are all very familiar with the expectations and consequences of the policy.
“School administrators and athletic directors know their roles in the process as well, and they are vigilant in protecting the spirit of the policy, the safety of the students and the confidentiality of those tested.”
Edmond Public Schools, the fourth-largest public school district in Oklahoma, has 23,071 students.
Students testing positive for the first time must obtain, from a licensed practitioner, an alcohol/drug use assessment, which might recommend counseling, education and/or treatment.
On the second offense in the same school year, the student is suspended from participating in extracurricular activities for 14 days and must complete four hours of substance abuse education or counseling from a licensed practitioner.
On the third offense in the same school year, the student is suspended from all extracurricular activities, including all meetings, practices, performances and competition for 88 days.
Students randomly selected are required to give a saliva sample that is tested for marijuana, amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone, benzodiazepine and opiates. All test results are kept confidential.
“In conversations with our students, we have learned that the unpredictable potential to be called for random testing has provided many with a solid reason to refrain from risky behaviors that before were more tempting and harder to refuse in the company of peers,” Bendick said.
School board officials said participation in athletics and extracurricular activities is a privilege, and the misuse and abuse of drugs or alcohol threatens the positive development of pupils and the welfare of the entire school community.
Student drug test results are not turned over to law enforcement agencies, and the student's drug test information will be destroyed when the student graduates or leaves the school district.
Students and their parents must sign the drug testing consent forms.
One parent, Leslie Petrie, did not like the program because her daughter was dropped from a debate class after she refused to sign a drug-testing consent form.
In September, the student, then a sophomore at Edmond North High School, agreed not to participate in extracurricular activities of debate. She wanted to continue the class and do other assignments to make up for not participating in team competition. She has since left North and is being homeschooled.
School board members have since updated the language to indicate that students who refuse to take the drug test should be barred from “interscholastic competitions,” and not “any activities,” as had been the original wording.
“The schools have worked diligently to ensure that the original intentions of the board are being satisfied,” Bendick said. “Specifically, the goals — as policy states — are to support Edmond's commitment to the prevention of drug or alcohol abuse and to encourage the rehabilitation of identified adolescent users.”