Drug testing to begin at Ocean Springs schools

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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Random drug testing is set to start in October for hundreds of students at Ocean Springs High School and Ocean Springs Middle School.

The new policy affects students who participate in extracurricular activities, including sports, clubs and bands as well as students who want to drive to school or attend prom and homecoming dances.

Officials told WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1uXngfV) that reasonable suspicion of drug activity is one trigger for the tests.

"If we actually have evidence to prove or to believe that you're under the influence of drugs, there's an immediate testing protocol. The other prong of the policy is called random selection, where students and their parents have already consented to be randomly selected for drug testing," said schools Superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter.

The district contracted with a private company to conduct on-campus testing and certify the results.

Students who test positive would have to enter a drug treatment program. Privileges would be restored if they pass a subsequent drug test.

"It's not meant to be a disciplinary policy. We're trying to make sure that we provide the deterrent for children to say no to drugs, because they want to be able to participate in extracurricular activities," said Coleman-Potter.

Students who are on prescription medication are required to provide documentation to the medical officer.

Coleman-Potter said the policy has not affected participation in clubs or other activities. She said more than 970 students at the high school and more than 700 students at the middle school have signed up to be randomly tested with parental consent.

She expects the numbers to rise as more events and programs develop.


Information from: WLOX-TV, http://www.wlox.com

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