BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – It is the second year for the drug-testing program at Boardman High School, which began testing student athletes and those who park on campus.
Boardman High School Principal Cindy Fernback said, so far, the tests have only caught two students who tested positive for drug use. This year, out of 526 students who were tested, all of the tests were all negative.
“Those tests, to me, say we’ve got kids who are making good choices,” she said.
Fernback said the school is now in the process of expanding the number of students who will be tested to those who are joining clubs and other extracurricular activities.
Boardman Schools Superintendent Frank Lazzeri has already talked to the school board about expanding the program to middle school students starting in the fall of 2016. He said he wants the program to reach more students after hearing from parents, who have asked when the program will be introduced to the younger students.
There was some push back from some parents when Boardman first started drug testing students, however.
A positive test costs a student his or her playing or driving privileges while in treatment and until they can pass a test.
Boardman takes a hair sample for its test, since that can determine if a student has used drugs 90 to 110 days prior to the test. Students are also subject to random testing between the mandatory tests that are given before each sports season.
The district is spending around $35,000 dollars annually to run the tests.
“If you save one child’s life, I think $35,000 is worth it, and I think we’re helping more than one child,” Lazzeri said. “I think we’re helping a lot of kids make better decisions.”
And Boardman believes that makes a better school and a better community.
In addition to the drug testing, the program also incorporates drug prevention methods. One such method is “Yes Fest,” an annual event in which students are introduced to volunteering around the township with teachers.
“Our Yes Fest says now that you’ve said no to drugs, what can you say yes to?” Fernback said.