Columbus private school set to begin drug-testing students

COLUMBUS, Ga - The Brookstone Board of Trustees says they are implementing voluntary drug testing for students in grades 8-12 next school year (2018-2019). The drug testing becomes mandatory the following school year (2019-2020). 

Students will be required to undergo hair testing at random throughout the school year. 

This announcement came Tuesday. 

Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Brookstone School, Jason Branch, says talks about mandatory drug testing have been going on for five years. 

"From that point in time, we have continued to follow the issues, do research, contemplate what is our role as a school, what can we do to help protect our children, and protect and create a safe environment for them, and to promote their health and safety and well-being."

The school says results from the drug test will be confidential. If a student tests positive, his/her parents will be notified, and the school will then provide resources for the student to receive help.

"We don't look at this being a discipline problem. We look at it as being a public health problem," says Head of Brookstone School, Marty Lester.

Lester says the school already has classes to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. He says drug testing is a small element that complements the education already taking place.

Lester and Branch stressed this is not about discipline, but the school doing its part to combat the national drug crisis by taking care of the school's students.

"We have decided to take an active and proactive role in being a part of that solution-- all geared toward providing a safe and protective environment for our children, and promote their overall health, safety, and well-being," says Branch. 

Lester says the response he has received from parents is overwhelmingly positive. 


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