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Guthrie Public Schools To Begin Random Drug Testing

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While the school year may have just started for students at Guthrie High School, testing is already underway; drug testing that is. While the school year may have just started for students at Guthrie High School, testing is already underway; drug testing that is.
GUTHRIE, Oklahoma -

While the school year may have just started for students at Guthrie High School, testing is already underway; drug testing that is. 

In a statement released last week, the district said it will begin randomly testing junior high and high school students involved in extracurricular activities for illegal drug use.

In my experience, giving kids a reason to say no is a tool that they have then to get through their adolescent years in a lot better shape,” Mike Simpson, Guthrie Public Schools superintendent, said.

Simpson said he’s worked in other school districts with the same policy and views testing as a strong “deterrent.” 

The district has set aside about $15,000 for testing in this year’s budget. Each test costs $15. Officials plan on doing 30 tests a month or about enough for one a day.

They're done via urine samples and will test for marijuana, meth, cocaine and ecstasy among other drugs. But the tests will not be looking for performance enhancing drugs or steroids.

Pamela Harvey is a mother and former Kansas school teacher who says she's on board with the new policy.

“It's going to curb it. They know they're going to get tested and it's a little scary, so it's going to work,” Harvey said.

Harvey taught in Liberal, Kansas at a school that had drug testing.

Other districts in Oklahoma do similar drug testing with mixed responses. In nearby Edmond schools, just eight of 750 tests came back positive, forcing some there to question if the results are worth the cost.

“You're putting a price on whether a kid stays healthy,” Simpson said. “I don't think you can put a price on that. 

There are punishments for students that get caught.

First time offenders will be placed in mandatory counseling and have another test two weeks later.

Second time offenders face more counseling and a two week suspension from their extracurricular activity. 

Third time offenders will be suspended from their team or group for the rest of the year or a full semester, which ever is longer, according to the release.

The district plans to hold a meeting at 6 p.m. September 1 in the high school cafeteria for parents and community members with questions.

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