After claims that marijuana use is out of control at two suburban Chicago high schools, Naperville, Ill., school district officials are now considering revising the schools' code to allow random drug testing.
The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that marijuana use has become “rampant” at the town’s North and Central high schools, prompting a request to change a district code to enforce drug testing on all students involved in sports and other extracurricular activities.
The code, which currently requires students to be suspended and attend counseling if they're caught doing drugs, has been violated 30 times this year, with 24 cases being linked to marijuana use alone, according to Naperville North Athletic Director Jim Konrad.
“Marijuana is rampant in the schools. If there’s anything we can do to assist parents and assist kids to say no, I think it’s a positive thing,” he said, claiming the idea was raised in an effort to help students make “good decisions”.
School board members are still undecided if students caught with the illegal drugs will be handed over to authorities on school property.
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“I don’t think I could support anything other than giving them help and trying to get them some benefit from it as opposed to some other action,” said board member Terry Fielden.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends random drug testing in public schools only for students involved in “competitive extracurricular activities” and not as a solution to drug problems, but rather a way to effectively reduce teen’s exposure to mind-altering substances.
Naperville schools would not be the first to introduce such a policy. Rockhurst High School in Missisippi began requiring their private school students to participate in mandatory drug tests earlier this year. Students were forced to submit 60 strands of hair for each exam which aimed toward helping students make “better decisions.”
St. Joseph's Prep School in Philadelphia also instituted random drug testing this year. While most parents applauded the school for “protecting” their students, some teens called the tests invasive.
“I’m not okay with it. I think it’s overstepping some boundaries,’ said senior Tom Coar.
In Naperville, the board of education will discuss the legal, privacy and cost issues on June 17.