For many parents, having a random drug testing policy in their child's school system gives them some piece of mind. Cave City School was one of the first schools in the state to implement a policy of this type.
Cave City Principal Mark Walling says that the school offers this testing as a precautionary measure against any student who might consider drug use. He said if the policy keeps one student from trying drugs, it is worth all the battles the school board fought to be able to implement the random drug testing in the school system.
The school won a state court case in Miller versus Cave City School Board, to allow the unprecedented random drug testing in the school district beginning in the 1997-98 year. The case proved that the testing does not violate students Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment rights to unreasonable search and seizure. The "Chemical Screen Test Policy for Cave City Schools" has been working very effectively on seventh through 12th graders since it's implementation.
Cave City High School principal Marc Walling said although it is not mandatory to participate in the program, any student who wishes to take part in any school activity must submit a signed document consenting to the testing. This document is included in the student handbook that all students receive at the beginning of each school year.
Walling said activities that students cannot participate in without a signed permission slip to participate in the school's random drug testing policy includes any and everything school related from field trips, clubs, sports, ball games and even prom and school dances. Walling said that between 98-99 percent of students voluntarily participate in the program.
Walling said that an outside testing company performs the random tests which begin in the middle of September each year. The school submits all the identification numbers to the company. The company's computer then randomly generates the numbers of the students who will be tested. Walling said the school doesn't even know when the tests will be conducted because the company calls Cave City School the day they will be present for the tests so that personnel can cross reference the identification numbers with the respective student so they can be called out of class for the tests.
The urine testing identifies illegal drugs, alcohol, commonly abused prescription drugs and metabolites of these substances. The testing is done privately in a bathroom stall and the sample is submitted to the person overseeing the testing.
Cave City's policy is so secure that the only school personnel who will have knowledge of positive results is the superintendent. The results will not be turned over to law enforcement. They will be kept in a locked file separate from regular student files. The first offense results in a 20 day probation period for the student and parents will be notified of the results. Following the probationary period, the student will be retested. If the second test is found positive, the student will be banned from any and all extracurricular activities for one year. Following a negative test result after the year, the student will once again be allowed to participate in activities.
In the United States Court, Eighth District Court of Appeals which presided over the case, Judge Susan Webber Wright said, "Deterring drug use by our nation's school children is at least as important as enhancing efficient enforcement of the nation's laws against the importation of drugs."
Walling said he is very proud of the program at Cave City Schools and has had very few problems with the policy.