Catholic Central to randomly drug test students

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 17:44:06-04

Should all students at a high school face random drug tests? They will soon at Catholic Central in Novi.

The school sent parents notice - beginning next semester, the school will start a program that will randomly drug test kids.

Catholic Central President Father John Huber and Dean of Students Mitch Hancock say it wasn’t an independent decision.  

The school sent out a survey to parents. Parents said do it. One responded saying her adult son was in jail for using heroin.

“She sent with the survey a handwritten note. She said if random drug testing when he was fourteen-years-old would have recognized the problem, our family wouldn’t have been put through the hell we have for the last ten years,” said Father Huber. “I really took that to heart.”

So how will it work? The school has partnered with Providence Park Hospital. It will send nurses to take hair samples.

“We will have random testing throughout the year, which will take place at least one time a month,” said Mitch Hancock, Dean of Students.

If a positive test comes back, the school will work with parents on a treatment plan for the student including follow up tests.

Father Huber says he implemented a similar program at a school in Texas. He says students told him they used the threat of drug tests when offered drugs.

“It gave them a resounding excuse to say no when they were faced with a temptation,” said Father Huber.

An institute of Education Sciences study found such programs do influence drug use.

About 16% of students subject to drug testing at school reported using drugs within the last 30 days in one study, compared with 22 percent in schools without such a  program.

The ACLU  saysm, while private schools have the right to such a program, drug testing in schools can be an invasion of student privacy - and sometimes tests give a false positive.

Catholic Central says the program will be confidential, and there is a process to address a false positive.

“We want to identify any problems with our students so we can help them,” said Father Huber. “We don’t want to catch and punish.”