Random Drug Testing May Reduce Drug Use in Metro School

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- About 23% of all Raytown High School sophomores admit to smoking marijuana, compared to about 16% nationwide.  That's according to a survey administered by Raytown officials.  Seeking to slash that number, the school implemented random drug testing this school year.

Raytown South Senior Justin Chigbogu doesn't need much motivation to keep him off of drugs and alcohol.  He said he does neither because he doesn't think they're the cool thing to do.

"I'm a student," said Justin, who plays baseball, basketball and football for Raytown South.  "I'm a student athlete.  My name is going to be out there as a student athlete, so I just want to be the kind of person that everyone looks up to and says, 'Justin never took drugs or Justin never did drugs.'"

But for some kids, just saying no isn't that easy.  So this school year, the district implemented random drug testing for kids who participate in sports and other extra curricular activities.

Of the 150 tests completed at both high schools, only three came back with positive results.  At that rate,

The students who tested positive face a 45-day suspension from their school privileges, which include parking on campus and participating in school clubs or athletics.  That can be cut in half if the students enroll in a drug education course.

A second and third offense carry 45-day and 365-day suspensions respectively from school parking, athletics and clubs.

"Students that are involved in illicit drug use have poor academic success," said Raytown Superintendent Allan Markley.  "They have more of a chance of dropping out of school, being involved in illegal activity.  It's not a situation to create a path of success and a path of future for a child to be involved in illicit drug use."

Raytown is the third district in which Markley has instituted random drug testing.  He said the tests are worth the $12,000 price tag for the two schools.

"If we save one child from using drugs and going down that path, and sometimes that's a path of no return, we win," said Markley.

Other metro districts could follow in Raytown's footsteps, as some have already approached the district how they could move forward with random drug testing.

Fox 4 wants to know what you think.  Should districts randomly drug test students who participate in extra curricular activities?  Vote in our online poll below.

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