MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Mooresville Graded School District is looking to adopt a drug testing policy for hundreds of its students.
The policy, which is currently in draft form, would randomly drug tests students in 7th through 12th grade who voluntarily participate in interscholastic athletics, extracurricular activities, and/or have a permit for parking on a school campus.
Parents can also opt to have their students added into the random drug test pool if their students doesn't otherwise qualify.
"The purpose for our drug testing, our random drug testing proposed policy is to help educate and make students and families aware,” said Michael Royal, chief operations officer for Mooresville Graded School District.
Student at Mooresville Middle and High School would be impacted by the policy if it passes. Royal estimates about a thousand students out of about 1,900 at the high school would be included in the random drug test pool.
Royal said the drug testing would be a supplement to the current K-12 drug curriculum that serves to educate students and family about health, safety, and the dangers of drugs.
Since the policy is still in draft form, Royal said the district is still working on the exact consequences for a positive drug test result, but it would likely involve a loss of privilege either in the form of participation in extracurricular activities or the loss of a parking pass. The drug test results would not go on a student’s permanent record, he added.
"We will not be contacting law enforcement,” Royal said. “It's a communication with the parent and the family and the student to try to get them the resources that they need."
At Nationwide Testing Association in Mooresville, people who work there see the drug issue in the community firsthand when parents bring their teens in for a drug test.
"A lot of times the concern is that the parent thinks the child has a substance abuse problem, especially when it comes to prescription pills,” said Trevor Clark, president of Nationwide Testing Association.
The business works with substance abuse professionals in the Mooresville area to help people get the treatment they need if they want it.
“It’s easier to affect a mind while it’s young than it is to wait until they’re older and try to change them once they’re more set in their ways,” Clark added.
Mooresville Graded School District hopes this policy will be a teaching tool for students and prepare them for drug testing that may be a part of students’ futures when they apply for jobs.
“Our number one concern is that our students are safe,” Royal said, “that they’re making good lifestyle choices.”
Royal wanted to emphasize that the policy is still a working draft as the district continues to gather feedback from all stakeholders.
If the school board adopts the policy, Royal said it would likely be implemented by August 2018.