Chicago Heights , IL—(ENEWSPF)— Why would a school consider mandatory drug testing when its drugs use, according to the University of Michigan ‘s "Monitoring the Future" research, is far less than the national and local averages?
Marian Catholic High School is giving strong consideration to drug testing for the entire student body at the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, pending further research and input. Testing will be intended to identify a need for counseling and results will remain confidential among the family, a guidance counselor and one administrator. Random and follow-up testing as needed will continue at intervals during the school year.
According to school officials, first indications from students, parents, and Advisory Board members are that the 98-99% of the Marian Catholic community who do not use illicit drugs care about those who do. "I have my own conflicted feelings about testing most of our kids who have made great choices, but when I know we could save lives, testing makes solid sense" notes MCHS President Sr. M. Paul McCaughey.
As a part of a total prevention program, the Marian Catholic administrative team felt that "the additional step of hair sampling supports a drug-free learning environment, empowers students to make positive choices, and supports families." Supporting students’ healthy decisions dovetails into the school’s focus on leadership – a curricular initiative that includes instruction in communication, ethical action, and team building.
Students seem to echo this understanding of testing as a part of prevention. After a positive response to polls conducted by MCHS Principal Sr. Kathleen Anne Tait, further meetings have been called to address questions raised about "chain of custody," confidentiality of results, and the priority of the role of the parent. A full description of the program and all related policies will be published prior to registration for the coming school year.