COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) — Crestview High School will start drug testing students in the fall.
The policy is for grades 7 through 12, but the district is starting with high school athletes and student drivers first. Student athletes will get a baseline test before their season and go into a lottery system. If a student fails, he or she will have to sit out 20 percent of the season and counseling also will be available.
“We’re giving students an opportunity to make wise choices. If they find themselves in an uncomfortable or awkward situation with peer pressures, this might help them to be able to make better choices,” said varsity coach Tanja Simione. “It’s proactive. It’s not reactive. I think that’s key.”
If a students fails a second time, they will be suspended from extracurricular activities for a calendar year.
“The real key is to let them know that we care enough about them that we want them to be tested. We want them to be drug free and this is going to be an expectation for all students,” said Crestview Superintendent John Dilling.
Students were the driving force behind this and approached the Board of Education about it.
One of those students was Preston Cope. He said he doesn’t want his school to be another teen drug statistic.
“We just felt like it would help because not everyone has someone at home that can help if they’re having trouble with drugs or anything like that,” Cope said. “It’s not to hurt anybody. And it’s going to help you in the long run.”
Funding for the tests does not come out of the general fund. A stipend from the vending machines in the school is covering the cost.
The school district said the policy will cover 70 percent of its students. Parents also can opt into the policy.
“I think it creates a good base for students in the future because you can’t get a job anywhere without being drug tested,” senior Preston Straney said.
The district plans on giving students a certificate saying they’re drug free. It also hopes to expand the program to all extracurricular activities.