A new drug testing policy has now been approved by the Norman Public School Board.
Testing will be for students involved in extracurricular activities requiring registration with the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
According to Norman Public Schools, it is one of the last 6A districts in Oklahoma to adopt a drug policy like this.
At a meeting Monday night, the board unanimously passed a policy for random drug testing of students who are involved with OSSAA programs.
The students will be tested for several drugs, including marijuana, alcohol and opioids.
However, the district will allow the participation of non-activity students, under the age of 18, if the parents request it.
“You look at the line of getting out of there and competing and doing things in the physical activities. Or representing your school in those types of competitions. you would hate to think that those students were under the influence of something at that point,” Mike Whaley, Associate Director at the OSSAA, said.
According to the approved policy, an initial offense will result in a conference between the student, their parents and the school principal.
Schools will, however, suspend students from their sport or activity for the remainder of the school year, if there are three or more offenses.
NPS says the policy is not intended to be disciplinary in nature, yet a way for students to say 'no' when pressured to use drugs.
“I think schools are more likely to be involved in deterrent, more than punitive,” Whaley said.
When asked if the legalization of medical marijuana was a reason in changing the drug policy, Norman Public Schools said their change is not related to State Question 788.
According to the district, this has been in the works for a couple of years, as they've strived to make the best possible policy.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma released statement relating to Norman's new policy, saying in part:
Infringing on students' privacy rights is not an effective tool for addressing substance use problems that may exist among Norman's students…We will continue to follow the developments regarding the new changes.