Random drug testing at Westwood High
Students who do not submit a completed form will not participate in extra-curricular activities, said Phil Bryant, athletic director.
The reason for the program is to protect the health and safety of the student body, he explained.
Bryant said the school has no input in determining who is tested. Paramex Screening Services, based in Chico, will randomly select 20 percent of the students representing the school in extracurricular activities for each testing period. On the morning students are tested the principal or person designated to oversee the program will notify those who have been selected and they will report to the nurses office.
“Because the testing is random it could be that one person is tested every time,” said Bryant.
The screening company will notify the school principal or program designee of all positive test results and that person will alert the student and parent or guardian.
A student who tests positive for one of the substances on the panel will be ineligible to participate in the next scheduled contest, event or activity but permitted to attend practice and meetings. In addition, he or she will have to complete a drug counseling program, recommended by the school district, with one parent or guardian. The district will cover the cost of counseling. The student will be routinely retested for one calendar year if participating in extracurricular activities.
After one positive test result consequences for failing additional tests increase in severity during a student’s enrollment at WHS. For example, a second positive test will result in suspension from extracurricular activities for 20 school days and if the student tests positive a third time he or she will be ineligible to participate for one calendar year.
At the time of testing two urine samples will be taken from each student. This split sample taken during the initial test is used to confirm test results in the case of an appeal. Any student who tests positive may submit a written appeal within three school days following notification.
According to Henry Bietz, superintendent of Westwood School District and principal at WHS, activities that are part of the curriculum, such as the AVID college tour, FFA events and the Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE), would not come under the random drug testing policy for participation.
The program, which will be funded with school safety money, is not punitive. Its purpose is to protect students and get them help if needed, said Bietz.
Bryant said drug testing gives students another reason to say “no” to drugs and alcohol when pressured by peers to use them.
“Sometimes it is hard for kids to say no in a situation where there is peer pressure. However when they know that random drug testing is part of their participation in extracurricular activities they can say no they don’t want to take the chance of getting caught. They value the participation therefore it gives them a little strength in peer pressure situations,” said Bryant.
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