Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Shane Anthony
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


ST. CHARLES COUNTY -- A year of mandatory random drug testing in the
Francis Howell School District produced few positive tests, according
to district leaders who say they want to continue the program next
school year.

A little more than 2 percent of mandatory random tests of Francis
Howell District high school students were positive for drugs,
administrators said Thursday.

Jim Joyce, the district's director of communications, said 16 of the
660 random drug tests came back positive, finding marijuana,
amphetamines or cocaine.

The program offered help to students who needed it and gave others a
reason to say no, he said. He also said the number of code of conduct
violations related to drugs and alcohol dropped by 6 percent.

"We do believe it is a deterrent to drug use," Joyce

The tests were taken during a seven-month period that began in
October. Randomly selected students took a urine test, and those who
tested positive for drugs were required to receive at least four weeks
of counseling. They were removed from extracurricular activities and
had their parking passes revoked for 10 days.

More than one positive test meant more counseling and more time out of

Clinical Collection Management conducted the tests. The district
partnered with Bridgeway Counseling Services to offer the counseling
at no cost to parents.

Joyce said the samples were tested for about 20 substances.

All students who were involved in extracurricular activities or had a
campus parking permit were required to be part of the random testing
pool. Parents also could sign up their child voluntarily.

Joyce said about 4,000 students -- about 68 percent of the district's
high school students -- were in the testing pool.

Joyce said most of the positive tests -- more than 80 percent -- found
marijuana. Two tests were positive for more than one substance.

The district originally had planned a voluntary testing program for
middle school students, too. Joyce said the district decided to focus
on perfecting the high school program after only a small percentage of
parents signed their children up for the program.

Joyce said the district will meet with middle school parents to
generate more interest in the program. The district also is applying
for federal grants to help pay for the testing program.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake