MARYVILLE, Mo. — Some students in the Maryville R-II School District will have to take a new test this coming school year: a drug test.
In May, the board of education approved a drug testing policy drafted by school administrators that would randomly test students in grades 7 through 12 who take part in extracurricular activities or who park on school grounds.
Steve Klotz, assistant superintendent, said the measure will affect most of the 700 middle and high school students in the district.
“Of those 700, we anticipate approximately 80 percent of them will be part of the tested population, because they participated in regulated activities,” he said.
Parents of those students who don’t take part in extracurricular activities or park on school grounds can voluntarily place them in the testing pool.
Disciplinary actions will come in a three-tiered system. For the first positive test, the student will be suspended from extracurricular activities for 30 days. For a second positive result, there will be a 90-day activity suspension, and for a third positive result, there will be a year’s suspension from all extracurricular activities.
Employee Screening Services, a Springfield, Mo.-based company, will conduct the testing. There will be two types of testing measures available: a four panel which costs $14, and a more comprehensive, 12-panel test that comes at a cost of $21.
Mr. Klotz estimates it will cost the district between $5,000 and $7,000 a year to administer the test.
“Once we have all of our students in the pool, we will determine when we will be testing our students and the number of students we want to test. We will do that periodically throughout the school year,” he said.
Mr. Klotz added that about 25 percent of school districts in Missouri already do random drug screenings.
“In our area, North Platte and Albany are two schools close to us that are doing random drug testing right now,” he said.
The program has majority support in the district. Mr. Klotz said 80 percent of parents said they would support or strongly support the district having such a policy.
“I think the primary motivation for having the program in place is to provide another opportunity to support our students’ ability to make positive choices,” Mr. Klotz said. “We want to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all of our students.”