KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Citing an attitude of permissiveness among students about drug and alcohol use, the Rockhurst High School Board of Trustees unanimously decided to begin a program of mandatory and random drug and alcohol testing of all students beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
The board says its decision comes after two years of conversations with trustees, administrators, faculty, parents, alumni and students about drug and alcohol use among teenagers.
Last year, the school at 9301 State Line Road, contracted with FCD Educational Services to survey students on their attitudes about drug/alcohol use. The results, which were shared with parents, confirmed that students are confronted by a culture of permissiveness and misinformation about substance abuse.
"As professional educators, we believe that adolescents do not have a right to engage in drug and/ or alcohol use, nor do they need to 'learn' how to drink,' said Greg Harkness, principal."For centuries, Jesuit education has stood against the prevailing culture when that culture seeks to undermine the inherent value of God's creation," said Harkness.
"As a Jesuit institution, it is incumbent upon Rockhurst High School to take a stand against trends that we believe are contrary to the formation of the young men in our care. Our ultimate goal is a student body that is free of drugs and alcohol," he said.
Rockhurst described in a news release how they will proceed with the testing:
- The first tests will be conducted during the opening convocations in August 2013 by using hair samples that will detect drug use and evidence of binge drinking. Using a health and wellness approach, students with a first positive test result will not automatically receive disciplinary consequences.
- Students will be referred to the Counseling Department, and parents will be notified. Together, the counselor and parents will develop a program for the student that may include outside counseling and other services to help the student become drug/alcohol free.
- If there's a second positive result, the student will be referred to the Dean of Students for possible disciplinary action. The ultimate goal is for students to return to good health, Harkness said.
"We assure our community that this decision is not based on an increase in substance abuse or any specific event. Rather, we have consulted other Catholic and Jesuit schools across the country that employ this type of program and believe it fits well in our health and wellness model for students," Harkness said. "Jesuit education requires us to understand the unique circumstances of students at a given time and apply our centuries-old values to the uniqueness of our own age."