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Drug Testing in Schools

Updated: 01/16/2014 10:54 PM
Created: 01/16/2014 10:51 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Drug use is a problem all school districts have to deal with, but the Duluth School District could become one of the first in the state to address the problem with random drug tests for students. We talked with those locally to find out if drug testing could be a possibility in the Rochester School District.

It’s an idea causing a lot of controversy, randomly drug testing students in certain extra-curricular activities, like hockey or even obtaining a parking permit.

"The way I look at it is, if you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about. So if you’re not doing drugs, drug testing should be a problem for you,” said Nicky Fatis of Rochester.  

Nicky Fatis is a parent of three and says students may think twice about caving into peer pressure if there's more on the line, like say suspension from sports or other activities.

Officials with the Duluth Public Schools are researching this idea, saying it works in other districts.

"Superior High School over across in Wisconsin, they've been doing randomized suspicion less drug testing for about seven years and from their reports they're saying it works well," said Ron Lake with Duluth Public Schools.

While the Rochester School District is not immune to drug use among students, they are taking a different - but still random - approach to combating the problem every school district faces.

"At this time we are not pursuing the random drug testing of students,” said Rochester Public Schools Asst. Superintendent Brenda Lewis. "We actually have our canine units visit our middle schools and high schools,” she said.

They tells us multiple drug canine searches have already been done this school year.

"We just continue to work on refining our processes and procedures, which again are a system of educating early, identifying when situations are occurring and really giving that support,” said Lewis.

Rochester Public School officials say the door is not completely closed on the idea of drug testing students. Which is a good thing, according to some parents.

"It's just one more step in making sure that our kids are making the right choices and that's kind of our job as parents and educators is to make sure that we're leading the kids in the right direction,” said Fatis.

There are lots of people who are opposed to this issue as well. We’re getting a lot of feedback on our Facebook page about it. You can join in the conversation by going to Facebook.com/KAALTV.



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