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Cullman Expands Drug Program

Students in Cullman will be subject to a different kind of test in school next year – a drug test. A draft proposal on which students will be tested has been expanded and, after a pilot program run-through this school year, it is expected to be rolled out across the district next year.

An article in the Cullman Times lays out the plan – increase testing down to middle school student-athletes and any students who are driving to school (high schoolers in this category are already included).

The new proposal also gives more options for the type of test, either urine, hair or a saliva swab. Allowing this opens the door to competitive bidding with the idea of lowering costs to schools. The Cullman Times also mentions that students will be identified for testing purposes with a confidential number instead of a name, and that students will have to empty their pockets and keep knapsacks and bags out of the testing area.

It’s not a simple matter to construct a drug testing program that is both fair to students and keeps their civil rights in mind. Whatever style of program a school adopts, it will be subject to criticism, especially if a star athlete runs up against a no-tolerance policy and has to forgo playing. Students may object directly to what they see as an intrusion on their privacy, and drug tests are not 100 percent accurate.

The bottom line remains the same – students who participate in athletics, academic teams, or extracurricular activities will be drug free next year. In order to participate, students will have to give permission for the random drug tests, a method of allowing self-removal for students who know they won’t pass. Those that fail will be removed from the activity and be required to have drug/alcohol counseling.


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