Duluth students may be subject to random drug testing

By KBJR News 1

January 16, 2014 Updated Jan 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM) - Students attending school in Duluth could soon be subjected to random drug testing.

The Duluth school district has been weighing the benefits of having students who are involved in extra curricular activities tested for drug use without notice.

"We've found that students say that alcohol and drug use is a concern of theirs and is a problem," Tom Pearson, Activities Director at Denfeld High School.

Affected students would include those involved in activities, athletics and students wishing to have a parking permit.

Staff members say the potential policy is to enforce positive peer pressure.

"If that kids a hockey player and they're out somewhere on a Friday night they have the opportunity to say no I'm not going to do this, 'cause I don't want to lose that privilege. So It's opposite of negative peer pressure it's a positive peer pressure that gives the kid an out," Pearson adds.

The Duluth school district began contemplating using the program after examining how beneficial it has been in Superior, where random drug testing has been in place for students since 2006.

"What happened in our district was our prior district administrator during that school year had nearly 20 expulsions based on drug use or bringing drugs into our high school," say Janna Stevens, District Administrator for the Superior School District.

Stevens says the program has made a big difference in the school.

"The amount of expulsions due to drug use has dropped significantly now. I only took over in 2009 but it has dropped every year."

Superior spends 30 thousand dollars a year for testing. Parents and students sign a consent form to allow testing.

If passed in Duluth, random testing would be implemented in the 2015 or 2016 school year.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware