COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Starting in the fall of 2013, school officials at Saint Mary's High School said they will start mandatory and random drug testing for all students.
Jon Kraus, the president of St. Mary's said there has been the occasional incident over drugs, but no major problems at the private Catholic school.
According to Kraus, the change in policy is motivated by the desire to keep the school a totally drug-free zone.
He said it gives students a way to combat peer pressure.
Kraus said, "Having a drug testing policy in high school allows the kids to say, 'I can't do that. I might be tested on Monday and I don't want to get myself in trouble'."
As a private school, Kraus said students agree to the code of conduct before every school year. These new changes are now part of school policy.
That means at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, every student will be required to undergo a hair drug test.
A few strands of hair will be cut from each student.
Those hair samples will be sent to Psychemedics Lab for testing. For more information about the test, click on this link: http://www.psychemedics.com
Then, Kraus said, random testing will start 90 days after the initial drug testing.
Each hair test costs about $40. There are 330 students at St. Mary's which means the initial testing will cost about $13,200.
Students who test positive for drugs will not be reported to police unless it is required by law or police request results.
School officials said the most important part of the drug testing is that consequences will primarily be focused on helping students through therapeutic means.
However, students who test positive for drugs would be suspended for three days from school. They will also be suspended from co-curricular activities for 30 days.
In addition, administrators said students will be required to get help, especially if addiction is involved. Subsequent drug tests will also be required.
Officials said this is definitely the right choice for St. Mary's High School.
According to administrators, parents and students should feel free to ask questions and voice concerns during the next few months.
Voluntary testing with parental permission is scheduled to start in March.