Newcomerstown, Ohio - Newcomerstown school officials say the district will no longer be administering random drug tests to students.
During their August meeting, members of the Newcomerstown Board of Education voted to repeal a longstanding policy that permitted random drug testing for student athletes and high school students who park vehicles in the school parking lot. In its place, they passed a new drug testing policy that will target the same groups of students based on individualized reasonable suspicion.
Superintendent Jeff Staggs says the main reason for the change was to make the district’s student drug testing program more effective by giving staff the ability to target specific students for testing.
“We always look to refine and see if we can do things better or more effectively, and it’s no different in this situation. I believe this allows us to achieve what we wanted the program to achieve and still have that accountability factor,” he says. “Before, even if we suspected an individual we could not [test] because it’s random.”
Staggs says the hope is that the new policy will also result in cost savings for the district. He says that under the previous policy, testing was administered several times a year to random groups at a cost of close to $5,000 per year. “I would hope that we don’t have that many kids that we have reasonable suspicion on.”
Staggs says the new policy will go into effect once the appropriate staff members have completed a two-hour training about what constitutes reasonable suspicion.