High School Implements Random Drug Testing Program

Andy Berg Headshot

A Michigan school district has settled on a plan to randomly drug test high school students, and the program could go into effect as early as next week.

Plainwell Community Schools’ Board of Education approved the new policy that will see students involved in extracurricular activities, including athletics, subjected to random drug testing.

Superintendent Matthew Montange told MLive.com that the district plans to “open the window for testing next week.”

In order for students to participate, parents will need to sign permission forms that include consent to the drug testing policy before the start of each athletic or extracurricular season.

“So far, parents and students have been positive and have turned in all the necessary forms to participate,” Montange said.

Montagne said that no students have opted out of the program and that forms have been turned in by all students participating in the athletics and activities. 

The policy, which applies only to the district’s high school students, allows for tests of students’ urine for nicotine, marijuana, opioids and other drugs like methamphetamine. Testing will be done at least once every trimester and can be done at any point throughout the school year.

School officials said the new policy will allow students a way to escape peer pressure.

Jill Dunham, one of two board members who voted against the policy, argued the measure was a “fairly drastic step” in helping stop students from using nicotine.

“It’s caused a lot of upset, angst and anxiety for something I’m not so sure has much efficacy,” Dunham said.

Student-athletes who test positive will be suspended from 50 percent of competitions for their first offense. Halfway through the suspension, students can apply for reinstatement to the athletic program if they complete a drug awareness program, agree to additional drug testing and meet with representatives from the athletic department. Student-athletes will be suspended from participating for a full calendar year from the date of the second positive test. If tested positive for a third time, the student will no longer be allowed to participate in sports in the district altogether.

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