Drug testing acts as preventative measure

Not about trying to ‘catch kids,’ administrator says


Madi Tran

The drug truck regularly comes unannounced and tests “115 to 120 students a month,” according to Ms. Kathy Saum.

Emma Kress, Reporter

While in class, it is not uncommon for a student to be called down to the office. The student will be told that he or she has been selected for a random drug test. The student will then go to the drug truck at the traffic circle to be tested. 

Vice Principal for Student Conduct Ms. Kathy Saum said that she believes that drug testing is effective. “Cathedral continues to have the lowest amount of use and the highest number of students tested across the state of Indiana,” she said. 

The drug truck has allowed more students to be tested.

Before it was part of drug testing, about 10 students a months were tested. This is the fifth year of drug testing with the drug truck and about 115 to 120 students a month are now tested. Saum said that of the students tested, about 3 percent of all tests are positive. 

Saum said that there are two main goals in drug testing. “One is to prevent students from starting in the first place. Secondly, if they are using, it’s to get them the help that they need,” she said.

Saum said, “Nowhere in there is it about trying to catch kids, even if they are positive. There are a lot less consequences than students realize. There is no big suspension or anything like that.”

However, testing positive still does have consequences. 

Saum read from the Blue Book: “For the first positive, parents will be notified of positive results.” 

The student will be charged for future drug testing. Then, the student and parents will appear before the drug and alcohol board. 

The student will be required to attend a drug deferral course within 20 days of a positive test. The verification of attendance must be submitted to the school within 20 days. 

After the board meeting, they will still be required to schedule and take part in a follow up meeting with their counselor. The student will be retested after 20 days of the initial test.

The drug truck also provides the benefit of multiple kinds of drug tests. 

Saum said, “There is saliva, or oral, testing. The second one is urine testing, and the third one is hair testing.” Students find out which test they will receive when they go to the front office for their drug test after being called down. 

Saum said that on average, each drug test costs approximately $30. “I’d say it’s an extremely minimal part of the budget. When you compare that to the tuition, $30 is extremely minimal,” she said.

Saum said she is convinced that the drug truck is helping to prevent students from using drugs. “I believe that every day you can keep a student from starting to use drugs and alcohol, it gives their brain one more day to develop to make better, more logical choices,” Saum said. 

Saum said that school involvement in policies such as drug testing can be important. She said, “If we can do anything to help parents and help children, then we are working as a team to raise children.”