Scott Co. high schools to begin randomly drug testing students
Some Scott County high school students will be subject to random drug testing in the upcoming school year.
AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- The start of the school year is just around the corner for students in Scott County, Indiana, and when they get back into the classroom, some high school kids will be subject to random drug testing.
"If we didn't think it would help kids, we wouldn't do it," said Scott County School District 1 Superintendent Robert Anderson.
Officials say the policy will apply to kids in extracurricular and co-curricular activities, along with students who drive to school. Parents will also have the chance to opt their kids in.
The Scott County School District 2 Board also recently passed a drug testing policy for Scottsburg High School.
"We feel that our school district needs to do our part in helping our youth not get started in these habits, or to get the help that they need to stop these habits," said Scott County School District 2 Superintendent Marc Slaton in a statement sent to WDRB News.
Administrators say the programs can work as a deterrent and lead to early intervention.
"We're trying to catch them when they're early to save them from years of heartache and addiction that has affected so many families in Scott County," said Lori Croasdell, coordinator for the Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances (CEAse of Scott County).
Scott County made headlines across the country after widespread drug use led to an HIV epidemic. CEAse of Scott County is working to fight substance abuse and provided grant money for Austin's new program.
"I think it will make a tremendous difference," Croasdell said.
Anderson says the goal isn't to punish kids with suspension or expulsion.
"The policy is, if you have a positive test, you'll be referred for treatment," he explained. "And that is the big thing."
Reaction among community members we talked to was mixed, but some are calling it a good move.
"I know some people probably will say that's an invasion of their privacy, but somebody has to step up and do something, and if that's gonna help the young people, I'm all for it," said Debbie Famularo, a Scott County resident.
Anderson says the drug testing will be confidential.
While both districts have funded the start of these programs, officials say they hope grants will allow them to continue drug testing in the future.
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