IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. -- A new random drug testing policy will be implemented within Mooresville School District when students return to class for the 2018-2019 school year.

The board of education passed the “Random Suspicionless Student Drug Testing” policy during Tuesday’s meeting.

The policy will apply to students in grades 7th through 12th who participate in interscholastic athletics, competitive extracurricular activities or have signed up for campus parking privileges. Parents can also opt their child into the program if their student does not participate in any of the mentioned activities.

A positive test will not result in suspension or notification of law enforcement officials. Instead, the consequences deal with a loss of privilege for a specified amount of time. The policy outlines ways the student can earn the privilege back, such as participating in a substance abuse or intervention program.

Michael Royal, chief operations officer for the district, said this policy is meant to help students and not hurt them.

“We don’t want this to be a punitive policy,” Royal said. “We want this to be, 'OK, we’ve identified an issue or a need,' and we want to be able to meet our students and our families to meet that need.”

If a student receives a third positive drug test, the student will be ineligible to participate in the specified privilege for the remainder of his or her school career. Royal said that record resets when a student moves from middle to high school, and there is an appeals process for students to go through to recover eligibility.

Andrew Quintero, a rising junior at Mooresville High School, said he thinks this policy may deter students from doing drugs.

“I think it’s good,” Quintero said. “It’s going to keep the students away from doing bad stuff after school.”

Victoria Harris, who will be a senior at Mooresville High School in the fall, said she can see the need for the policy to be in place.

“I think it’s good, especially for drivers because they could get into a car crash if they were to do a certain type of drug,” Harris said.