YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- The feedback from parents and students is mixed, as one local school district mulls the possibility of random drug testing.
The Rock Hill School board met Monday night and heard the results of a survey sent to parents and students about drug testing student athletes and student drivers.
Federal law would permit the district to test students who are involved in extra-curricular activities and students who drive onto campus.
Late last year, the district sent a survey to students in both groups and their parents to see how they would feel about random drug testing.
The results were split almost exactly down the middle, says district spokesperson Mychal Frost.
"We received over 700 responses," he said. "Both groups recognize there is an issue that should be addressed."
Frost said there are some who expressed skepticism that random testing would prevent or deter use. Others questioned the district's motive, and whether a negative test would negatively impact a student's ability to attend college or play sports at the collegiate level.
"'Why are we considering this? Why would we want to do this?'" Frost says are common questions.
"At its core is student safety," Frost said. "To deviate from that makes it a very muddy and murky conversation, but when we keep that as the focus, everything seems to stay in line."
Frost says, in the coming weeks, they will be seeking even greater feedback at the school level. Student governments and other campus organizations, as well as booster clubs, will be asked to offer their input.
Other districts in South Carolina, including Clover, have enacted similar policies. A large component of their policies includes counseling for students who fail the tests.
Rock Hill district leaders say they strongly support counseling for those who need help.
"The idea is not a punitive action," Frost said. "We want to identify who needs help and work with the families that may need assistance."
The earliest a policy would be put in place would be the 2018-2019 school year, Frost said. However, there is still the matter of who would pay for the testing.
District leaders estimate that each test would cost $25. With hundreds of student athletes on each high school campus, plus hundreds of more students who drive to school, the random drug testing could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars every year.
The board plans to receive an updated status report in its meeting in February.
WFMY News 2 reached out to some local school districts to see if they're considering anything similar.
- Guilford County Schools don't have any drug testing in place right now.
- Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools drug test for extra curricular activities that don't get a grade. So, for example, band students don't get tested. They do not have a driving component, but do continually discuss their policies.
- Alamance -Burlington Schools says students who try out for or are in any extra-curricular activity are subject to random drug testing.
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