California district plans to offer program allowing parents to track results of random drug tests of children
According to an Associated Press (AP) report in the Daily Democrat, William S. Hart Union High School District (WSHUHSD) plans to expand a first-of-its-kind program that allows parents to track the results of random drug tests of their children. Under the program, which is funded by a federal grant, parents choose whether to enroll their kids in the Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction and Education (CADRE) program, which requires students to submit to regular urine tests. Parents are notified if students skip a test.
Kathy Hunter, WSHUHSD’s Director of Student Services, says officials hope to see the program grow every year by 3%. Instituted in 2008, it is believed to be the only one of its kind in the nation, according to administrators. Many schools require drug testing for participation in sports and other activities, but WSHUHSD’s program is unique by serving parents who want to monitor their kids, whether the kids like it or not.
Michael Risher, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, acknowledged parents do have the right to enroll their children in a drug-testing program, but stressed children in California also have privacy rights. He pointed out that if a student refused to be drug-tested, despite parental consent, the school district might be leaving itself open to a legal challenge.
School district officials said its attorneys thoroughly vetted CADRE. They noted school officials are not told of individual students’ test results. Instead, parents are notified of their children’s results by phone. Students who test positive are referred to a therapist and offered other assistance.
Source: Daily Democrat, 11/26/12, By AP
[Editor's Note: In May 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article in the LancasterOnline.com, which reported that Solanco School District (SSD) had revised its student drug-testing policy as a result of a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the district’s random drug testing program. However, it appears that the policy revision did not address the main allegation of the lawsuit, namely that SSD never proved the need to test students for illegal drugs in the first place.]