Drug Testing Results

December 12, 2016

A year and a half after instituting drug tests to student-athletes, Seaman USD 345 in Topeka, Kans., reports it has had a positive impact and reduced drug use. The new policy involves random drug tests for students who have parking passes or are participating in athletics and other school-sponsored activities. 

According to cjonline.com, Mike Monaghan, principal at Seaman, said the policy was one he had previously used as principal at Hayden High School. He said that in the policy's first year at Seaman, there was a 70 percent decrease in drug offense-related hearings, and an 18 percent decrease in the number of disciplinary reports.

“It’s gone better than even what I would have imagined,” Monaghan said. “I’ve been through this once before and noticed huge gains in achievement, across the board academically, extracurriculars and athletics.”

Katie McLaughlin, student council president at Seaman, said her school “did have a big drug problem,” and that the policy, by establishing the threat of random testing, helped ensure that students did not use drugs.

“It doesn’t necessarily get them in trouble,” she said. “They don’t want to go down that road. We’ve had so many kids go down that road. It really does keep our student body safe.”

Monaghan said that those who test positive for drugs aren't necessarily punished, but are sent to Shawnee Regional Prevention and Recovery Services for a two and a half hour appointment with a counselor, who decides what steps will be taken next.

Doug Bonney, legal director of the Americans Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Kansas and Missouri, said that while school officials have the authority to impose drug testing, he believed it was a violation of the students' rights to privacy and a poor use of the district's money.

“Spending that money makes little sense,” Bonney said. “The incidence of positive tests is extremely low. It’s usually not that big a problem. If a student has a drug problem, there are other signs, like dropping grades, not showing up to class.”

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