GROVEPORT PARENTS UPSET WITH NEW DRUG TESTING PLAN FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
GROVEPORT, Ohio - Reading, writing, and random drug testing?
Some parents are upset after learning their middle school children might be tested for drugs.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association says a survey last year found 22 percent of its schools require students to be drug tested to participate in extracurricular activities.
Groveport Madison Schools began doing it last year for high school students.
This year that has been extended to include 7th and 8th graders, and some parents aren’t happy.
Jeoffery Brown is a month into his 7th grade year, and a newfound love of making music.
"He only has to practice 90 minutes a week, but he literally practices probably 30 minutes a night on his own,” said his mother Sonja Brown. "He wants to do it. He wants to participate. He wants to be a part of something besides just himself."
But Sonja says her son's new hobby hit a sour note when he brought home a consent form from school. Tracy Collins received the same notice from her son, Jacob.
"They needed my permission to start randomly drug testing," said Collins. "I looked at my son and I told him ‘I'm not signing this.’”
Asked why, Collins said, “Because at 13 years old- why are they drug testing 13 year olds?"
Groveport Madison says among other reasons, it instituted the policy: “To provide for the safety of all students and to undermine the effects of peer pressure by providing a legitimate reason for students to refuse to use alcohol and illicit substances.”
"The principal said that she's trying to hold the kids to a higher standard. How can you hold your kids to a higher standard that you're not holding your employees to?” asked Collins.
Both mothers says what's good for the students, should also go for teachers.
Groveport Madison does not drug-test its educators.
"To work just about anywhere, you have to pass a pre-employment drug screening. How it passes over a teacher, I don't know," said Brown.
Both moms say they'll sign the consent form so their sons aren't excluded from the activity they enjoy, but they're not happy about it.
"I don't have a choice but to sign it," said Collins. "It wasn't his fault. He shouldn't be punished for choices the district made," said Brown.
No one with Groveport Madison Schools was available to talk with 10TV on camera.
The district says drug testing will begin this month.
For obvious reasons, officials are not offering a more specific timeline than that.