SSD Will Not Move Forward with Random Student Drug Testing Policy
In the fall of 2018, a group of parents, patrons, and staff members began to study the concept of random student drug testing as a means of preventing students from engaging in drug use. From the beginning, the policy was never meant to be punitive, but a means to identify and provide intervention and education for those who tested positive.
For over a year the committee gathered research, surveyed students and parents, evaluated sample policies, conducted a public forum, and solicited feedback from school districts currently utilizing a random student drug testing policy.
The committee learned that although the courts have upheld the practice of school districts randomly testing students who participate in extracurricular activities, the research is inconclusive as to whether it is an effective deterrent for student drug use. On the other hand, over thirty Missouri school districts that utilize a random student drug testing policy responded to a survey and 76.32% of them said they believed the policy reduced student drug use.
Finally, a formal and random sampling of the community was conducted this fall as an additional means of determining the public's point of view. While 52% of the population surveyed support the practice, 38% are opposed with 10% undecided. At their regularly scheduled October 16 meeting, the Board of Education discussed this and other information and chose not to move forward with a policy at this time.
“A significant portion of our community does not believe using random student drug testing would be an appropriate strategy to prevent student drug use,'' said Dr. Todd Schuetz, Superintendent. “Let’s now focus the conversation on what we are doing, how we can do it better, and what else we can do to support our students.”
Schuetz and Smithville High School Principal, Dr. Tracy Platt, intend to bring the committee back together to discuss where to go from here. “The conversation hasn’t changed,” said Dr. Platt. “We are still seeking opportunities to bolster our prevention and intervention efforts.”
Dr. Schuetz and the Board of Education would like to thank the committee for their work over the past year and the community for engaging in a conversation about random student drug testing. “We can’t go wrong when we come together in the best interest of our kids,” added Schuetz.