Edmond student drug tests come back negative

A new policy requires all Edmond high school students in extracurricular activities to be drug tested monthly.
BY NASREEN IQBAL Niqbal@opubco.com Published: February 22, 2013
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Edmond public high schools completed their first month of student drug testing on Jan. 30 with all results coming back negative.

“We are extremely satisfied with how the first month went. We hope that we'll see continual success each month,” said Jason Brown, district executive director of secondary education.

School board members and school administrators had been working on the policy for three years. It was finalized in the fall, and testing began Jan. 7.

Testing is confined to high school students who participate in extracurricular activities as defined by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. Activities include music, sports and the Academic Bowl.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that schools can drug-test students who participate in extracurricular activities, and school administrators think those students should be held to a higher standard.

“It's a privilege, but with that privilege comes a heightened responsibility. Obviously, they're going to be looked at as role models and school leaders, and so with that heightened responsibility, we feel they have that responsibility to remain drug- and alcohol-free,” Brown said.

Brown said there are about 2,000 students at each high school, and 35 to 50 percent participate in some sort of extracurricular activity.

The district chose saliva drug testing administered by a third-party company. Administrators use student ID numbers to randomly select 25 students from each high school to test each month. Students are not notified until the day of testing.

Testing takes no more than a few minutes, Brown said.

“Our goal is to deter students from using drugs. We hope kids will choose their activities — their band or their sport — over drugs. We want to serve as a deterrent with the least amount of school interruption possible,” Brown said.

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