School Drug Testing's Fate Coming in 2 Weeks

With hundreds of online survey responses turned in, BOE can vote to abolish, keep, or amend controversial policy.

The Hillsborough Board of Education will vote in two weeks on the future of the school district's random drug testing policy.

Board President Thomas Kinst said at Monday’s meeting that the board’s Education Committee will meet later this week to discuss the issue and make a recommendation to the board, which will then vote on Oct. 22.

Part of the Education Committee’s review will be a consideration of the online survey on the issue that had been posted on the district’s website. The survey results will also be given to all board members.

While the survey has garnered hundreds of responses, there has been rare comment on the issue at board meetings, though the board has set aside a portion of each agenda for public input.

On Monday night Lisa Gulla, a member of the Hillsborough-Millstone Municipal Alliance, told the board that she was in favor of retaining the random drug testing policy.

Gulla said the testing was  “a tool, but not a cure.” She added it was a “very effective” tool that “absolutely” helps parents.

“It’s one more layer,” she said, adding that the testing is “a small piece of the puzzle.”

At the July 9 school board meeting, Thuy Anh Le, chairwoman of the Education Committee, said the committee's initial recommendation to eliminate the program was made after reviewing the program’s results since it was implemented in the 2008-09 school year.

Le said the program showed “inconclusive reports” and the goal of an annual 5 percent reduction in drug use was not met.

But the board tabled a vote in July on ending the policy after members failed to reach a consensus and decided more input from parents was needed.

The target population of the tests were students in grades 9-12 who were involved in athletics, extracurricular and co-curricular activities, had parking permits and those who chose to participate in the program with parental consent. That totaled about 94 percent of the school’s enrollment.

In the 2011-12 school year, 50 students were tested and six positive test results were found. The tests revealed marijuana use.

In the 2010-11 school year, 199 students were tested and eight positive results for marijuana were recorded.

In the 2009-10 school year, 189 students were tested and seven positive results for marijuana were recorded.

In the 2008-09 school year, 200 students were tested and five positive results for marijuana and opiates were recorded.

Diane Jones October 09, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I feel the drug testing randomly should continue. It is a tool and if they never know who or when; the kids may think twice before using. After the headline article in the papers on heroin use and the use of prescribed medicine for those who don't need it just to get high....We need to be diligent to keep our kids safe and the neighborhoods safe from crime. Robberies have become more frequent in town as the economy dwindles. If the kids can't find the money one way to get their high, they will try another way. Hopefully, our kids don't even try out these drugs.
Frank Grabas October 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM
While it may have some value in the overall problem with drugs it doesn't go far enough. We should randomly test our politicians and police. Earlier, this year, The Star Ledger reported the abuse that, in New Jersey police departments, were abusing anabolic steroids and supposedly were being purchased with the medical benefits that we give them. Our Attorney General and politicians did nothing to prosecute them. I have been around for quite awhile and heard many stories about alcohol and drug abuse by too many politicians. There have been rumors that surgeons have been doing coke to "steady their nerves" before surgery. Hollywood and sport stars get away with drug abuse. So what do you expect kids to do? Their heroes do it and get away with it. And, of course, who knows what too many self righteous parents get away with.
Nancy Edwards October 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
www.preventionnotpunishment.org Please take the time to understand this important tool in stopping drug use. Remember, it doesn't take a test to identify someone who is actively using...their behavior speaks for it. It is those in initial drug use that it helps to identify. School counselors can work with the families to seek help sooner, than later. Parents, please don't be fooled by your excellent parenting skills, Not My Kid, attitude...Addiction can rear its ugly head in the best of families. Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor


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