New drug testing policy takes effect in Henderson schools

A new policy made its way into a few Henderson County Schools today.

In April, a random student drug testing policy was approved by the Henderson County Board of Education, saying the policy reflects core values of cultivating a community where character matters.

It's a policy already in use by almost one hundred other public schools in Kentucky.

"This week we started our random student drug testing in Henderson County Schools," said HCS Public Information Officer Megan Mortis.

The Board of Education implementing the policy in Henderson County High and in North and South middle schools.

Waiting until after Labor Day to make sure all parents and students fully understood.

So, what does this mean for your student?

"It's for any student that participates in an extracurricular activity including sports and at the high school it is for students that are having a parking permit to park at the school grounds," said Mortis, “so your marching band, choir, any of the sports."

Parents can also opt their students into the program to be tested.

Parents and guardians were required to sign a written consent form for the testing when their student signed up for the activity or parking.

"Right now we have about 500 students at the high school who will be in the random drug test pool and then 300 at both middle schools combined," said Mortis.

An outside agency is being used for testing with each student being assigned a random number, keeping all personal information confidential.

10 high school students will be tested per week as well as both middle schools testing up to three students.

There are three levels of consequences if a student tests positive that take away participation in extracurricular activities and parking permits:

  • 1st Offense- For the first offense, the participant shall be suspended from any and all participation in any and all contests and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended for four (4) weeks from the date of the initial positive test.
  • 2nd Offense- For the second offense, the participant will be suspended from any and all participation in any and all activities and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended for eighteen (18) weeks from the date of the confirmation of the positive test.

  • 3rd Offense- For all subsequent offenses, the participant will be suspended from participation in all in-season or off-season activities and student drivers shall have their parking permit suspended/revoked for three hundred sixty five (365) calendar days from the date of the confirmation of the positive test.

"But we also want to offer assistance to the parents and the students. Follow up with any counseling anything that they might need," said Mortis who believes the response from the community, parents and coaches has been positive.

Teachers and staff are not being left out from this policy. More than 25 employees are randomly screened per month. This number also include bus drivers.

Any additional questions can be answered here.

(This article was originally published September 5, 2017)


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