Trinity High to start random drug testing of students - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Trinity High to start random drug testing of students

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Trinity High School plans to begin random student drug and alcohol testing starting with the 2015-16 school year, according to a letter to parents posted on the private Catholic school's website Tuesday.

The new policy, unanimously approved by Trinity's school board, will be similar to the one used at Providence High School in Clarksville, Ind., and at other Catholic schools in the United States, the letter says.

There will be an informational meeting for parents about the new policy at 7 p.m. Thursday at Trinity's convocation hall in the Communication Arts Center. 

"No single incident led us to this decision, but we recognize that every high school student faces tremendous pressure in these changing and challenging times," said Robert Mullen, president of Trinity High School said in a statement posted on the school's website Tuesday. 

"In addition to helping our students combat peer pressure, this program will enable Trinity to identify any of our young men who do have a problem with drugs or alcohol and to work with his parents to help the student get back on the right track early," Mullen said.

Trinity officials declined to discuss the policy Tuesday afternoon, saying they plan to do so with the media on Wednesday.

You can read Trinity's full policy here

Several students told WDRB News Tuesday they were notified of the new policy during an assembly with freshman, sophomores and juniors shortly before school dismissed for the day. 

"We were told that about 75 percent of our student body will be tested at random over the course of next year," said one student, whose name is being withheld to protect his identity. "This was the first time that I heard about it. And my parents were not aware of it before today, either."

Two freshmen told WDRB News they think the new policy could be a good thing.

"I think it will stop people from doing drugs and keep them safe from harming their bodies," one said.

Another student said he that he has never done drugs and doesn't drink alcohol and believes this new policy is an "invasion of my privacy."

"Personally, I think this policy is a great addition for Trinity," said sophomore Barron Hoffman in an email to WDRB. "It not only exemplifies our faculty and staff's care for our future and success...it truly shows that our staff will do what it takes to keep us, students, safe inside and outside of school."

Cecilia Price, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Louisville, said the archdiocese "applauds and supports Trinity High School as it implements its new random drug and alcohol testing policy."

She forwarded the following statement from the archdiocese: 

"Trinity's effort to provide students with the tool to say, 'I can't. My school tests,' is a powerful testament to the school's concern about the well-being and health of students.

For Catholic secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, decisions about implementing drug and alcohol policies and related disciplinary measures are established at the local level with the input of the school's appropriate consultative bodies, including its Board of Directors. Trinity has conducted a thorough process of research, consultation, and prayer as it established this policy."
Price said that only one other school in the archdiocese -- Bethlehem High in Bardstown -- has a random student drug policy in place.

"All Catholic secondary schools in the archdiocese utilize drug testing in specific circumstances, establish policies about drug and alcohol use by students and provide resources to assist students and families with drug and alcohol issues," Price said.

Trinity plans to take hair samples to detect drugs such as cocaine and marijuana for several months after use, according to the school.

Here is the full statement that was posted on Trinity's website on Tuesday:
Today, we are announcing a powerful addition to the comprehensive health and well-being efforts we already employ to help our students remain alcohol- and drug-free. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, Trinity joins a growing list of Catholic schools across the country that conduct random drug- and alcohol-testing of students.

Our primary motive for adding this testing program is to empower our students with the ability to say: “I can't. My school tests.” Our research tells us that this is an incredibly potent tool against peer pressure, and that both students and parents are grateful when it's made available.

No single incident led us to this decision; but we recognize that every high school student faces tremendous pressure in these changing and challenging times. In addition to helping our students combat peer pressure, this program will enable Trinity to identify any of our young men who do have a problem with drugs or alcohol, and to work with his parents to help the student get back on the right track early.

We did not arrive at this decision lightly; it came after extensive study and much prayer, and it arose out of our Mission to Form Men of Faith and Men of Character. That is what we do at Trinity.

More announcements are forthcoming that explain the decision in some detail.

Robert J. Mullen, president of Trinity High School
Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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