El Dorado, Ks., near Wichita, will start random drug screening for all middle and high school students participating in any extracurricular activity, says the Associated Press. That includes sports, clubs, field trips, driver’s education, even school plays. Those who don’t sign consent forms cannot attend games, go to school dances, join a club or so much as park their car on school property. Administrators insist the district does not have a drug problem, and say one of the nation’s toughest drug-testing policies is aimed at keeping it that way.
At least 425 students out of 600 high schoolers, and 215 of the 315 middle school students, have signed forms consenting to random urine tests for alcohol, tobacco and drugs. No one has been tested yet, and school officials don’t want to tip off students about when the first random drug test will be conducted. Brett Shirk of the American Civil Liberties Union said the policy “invades the privacy of students that need deterrence and risks steering those students to a greater risk of substance abuse that makes the drug problems worse. Some authorities said that excluding students from extracurricular activities will just lead them into deeper trouble. The White House drug-policy office estimates 2,000 public and private districts conduct drug tests. The National School Boards Association has reported that 5 percent of public school districts test athletes and 2 percent test students involved in extracurricular activities.