Chesterton Tribune

Random drug testing results kept confidential

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When proponents of random drug testing emphasized the importance of confidentiality, they meant it.

In her annual report to the Duneland School Board, Duneland Positive Life Program Director Gloria Guerrero said that 90 Chesterton High School students were randomly drug tested this past school year, but would not say how many of those tested positive.

Guerrero told the school board that the Positive Life Advisory Committee has decided not to publicly divulge the results, in order to make the program truly confidential.

Random drug testing resumed at CHS in the past school year for the first time since 1999-00. The random tests are limited to students who drive or who are in extra or co-curricular events. Students can also be drug tested based on reasonable suspicion.

The random drug testing program will be expanded to middle school beginning this fall.

Guerrero said she definitely feels that simply by having the random drug tests in place, students are given an incentive to stay away from drugs since they could lose their driving or extracurricular privileges.

When asked if the numbers suggest that drug use is on the decline or worsening, Guerrarro said student surveys suggest about the same level of drug and alcohol use as in previous years. Noting that this was the first year that the random drug testing resumed, she also said that she will be able to compare the actual results in consecutive years beginning next year.

Students who test positive are referred to Duneland’s Positive Life Program, which also includes other referrals and students who voluntarily sign up.

A total of 95 students participated in the program in the past school year. Of those, 59 parent conferences were held. Also, 31 students voluntarily participated in student support groups.

Of the students in the drug and alcohol component, 91 percent completed their program requirements. Of those in the tobacco program, 75 percent completed successfully. In addition, half of the students were in the second stage of attempts at quitting smoking, while 25 percent said they were trying to quit.

Guerrero said the Positive Life Program also held convocations in each high school grade in order to reach more students about the dangers of drug, alcohol and tobacco. “We need to reach more than the students who are referred to me,” she said.

To do this, speakers from the Positive Approach to Teen Health gave presentations to the 9th and 10 graders. One of the presentations focused on media lies, and the untold consequences of dangerous behaviors.

Drug enforcement officers gave a presentation to juniors. Seniors attended a pre-prom presentation given by a speaker whose son died in an alcohol-related crash.

The Positive Life Program also hosted training sessions for teachers on suicides, student assistance teams and other topics.



Posted 7/14/2009