Getting the facts straight about new random drug testing

Hope Zagotti and Olivia Love

On Tuesday, September 24, Canfield High School had the first round of Random Drug Testing for the Students in the morning after announcements.

They called students to head down to the gym right after the announcements were over. When the students walked in, Mr. Moldovan, Mr. Shields, and Mrs. English were in the gym and they told all of the students to sit down in the middle section of the bleachers. They explained the process of how the drug testing was going to work and how everyone would go through with it. Students waited 45 minutes to an hour to get back to first block after being tested. Now, many students are asking a lot of questions about this process and how it works.

For each random drug test, a maximum of 10% of those on the list of athletes, drivers, and marching band members are picked. 

Assistant Principal Mr. Shields said, “The company puts everyone that needs to be tested through a system that correlates a number with every name and randomly picks around 60 numbers.  The ones picked are the names that are chosen for the random tests.” 

There is also a system called the referral system where students can come forward if they have any concerns of testing non negative.  If someone tests non negative, this means that there could be anything from certain prescription drugs to something illegal. Their sample is taken for further testing to make sure that they don’t test positive for an illegal substance.  If a student chooses to refer, a letter is sent to the parents to start a guided conversation about where to go from there. It will also help to limit punishment compared to someone who does not refer and faces consequences such as not being able to play in band, being benched from games for a sport. 

The administration decided to set random drug testing in place at Canfield not as a way of catching or intruding on anyone, but rather as a preventative measure. It’s purpose is to encourage students to avoid potentially incriminating situations and even giving an excuse to students to say no.

Shields said, “Students can even opt into the random testing so that if they are faced with an awkward situation, they have the excuse of saying ‘no sorry, I’m in the random drug test pool’ to help them get out of it.” 

The school board hopes that in putting this system into place, they will be able to help, not hurt, the students at Canfield.  

  “We want to be very honest and upfront about what we are doing here,”  Shields said. “If anyone has any questions or concerns about this new system I want them to feel free to come to me.” 

Shields feels that this will really be able to benefit the school as a whole and create a more open and honest atmosphere.