CALHOUN COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The Calhoun County School District has come up with a new plan to fight the war on drugs. The school board voted to adopt a new drug testing program this week.
Calhoun county is the latest school district in North Mississippi to adopt a drug testing policy. Students from Bruce, Vardaman and Calhoun City will soon have to provide urine samples to be screened for variety of illegal drugs and alcohol.
“We just thought it’d be a good deterrent, not saying we’re accusing anyone but we want to make sure that students understand how serious this is and hopefully deter them from trying drugs,” says Calhoun City High School Principal Mike Ray.
Students in grades 9 through 12 in Calhoun County that participate in extra curricular activities and/or drive a vehicle, will be randomly drug-tested. School officials say there will be no criminal punishment if a student tests positive but there will be consequences.
Ray adds “Students will be subject to be suspended for a number of days and then they’ll have to be re-tested and things like that, say they do test positive.”
The harshest punishment a student may face is a year-long suspension from extra curricular activities. When students test positive, they will only be identified by their student id number. Their results will be kept confidential and only their parents or legal guardian and school officials will be notified. Parent and former school board member Susan Hardin believes students are open to the testing program.
“I think most of the students will be for it. Those who aren’t are probably the ones that need to be tested anyway. I think the students appreciate coming to a safe school and I think drug testing is a big part of that, says parent Susan Hardin.
Hardin also says that as a former board member and active community member, she has heard only positive reactions about the new drug testing program from other parents.
“Everybody’s seen it in the paper and heard their kids talking about it and as far as I know, most parents are in support of this because we all want a safe school for our kids to come to.”
The school district also plans to offer an approved counseling program to students who have positive drug test results.
The Calhoun School District will contract with a drug-testing firm to facilitate the program.