ONE SIMPLE SOLUTION
Hair Testing Prevents Drug Use
Random drug testing using hair analysis has a 90 day window, it’s accurate and it is impossible to cheat the test. It isn’t the only prevention tool, but it is the best, and it makes all of the others work better, like conveying factual information on the harms of drugs and effective parenting. Schools will benefit by having less disciplinary problems, better attendance, improved academic performance, less violence and teenage crime and a more wholesome atmosphere and learning environment. The best education is wasted on a young person who contracts the disease of addiction and becomes a public burden for life. Deferring the onset of drug use by kids will have lasting benefits for the families, schools and society.
- VOLUNTARY HAIR TESTING program for parents who want the extra protection, and kids that want a reason to just say “no” to peer pressure, for all middle and high schools. The cost for enrollment is $65 per school year, paid by the parents, with the stipulation that the child will be tested at least once. Testing more frequently is possible on request. Schools can offer it, or a community coalition or volunteer working with the school can do it for the school. Results in this program are mailed only to the parents and school counselor.
Mandatory testing for athletes and those engaged in extra-curricular activities has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court since 2002, and is encouraged as a school policy. Schools that have such a program may want to switch to hair testing for more accurate results. We suggest the parents should pay for the testing, and include these kids in the voluntary program. But Suspicion-Based Testing at school can potentially achieve the same outcome, providing protection to all students.
- SUSPICION BASED TESTING AT SCHOOL If a child shows any cause for concern, the school, at its sole discretion, will have the right to administer a drug test using hair analysis, or any other type of test if for any reason a hair test will not work. This program is specifically designed to protect ALL students and provide parents with a secondary line of defense. Suspicion may be based on any information considered reliable by the administration, and such information will remain confidential. Causes for concern may include:
- Observed behavior or change in performance
- Reckless driving or speeding on campus
- Any major disciplinary infraction as defined by the Administration
- Chronic tardiness or absences from school.
- Being off campus without permission
- Violation of any civil or criminal law
- Excessive detention hours
- Excessive bullying
- Parental concern and request for testing
- Classmates concerned about friends
- Conduct which reflects poorly on the reputation of the school.
Results will be communicated back to the School Administration or Program Director, or person designated by the school Principal. If a child tests positive, the parents will be notified and called in to work with the School counselor to determine a course of action, and/or need for treatment. There after, the child will be enrolled in a random drug testing program through high school. Schools tell us that once the parents get involved, a repeat is unlikely.
CONSEQUENCES FOR POSITIVE TEST RESULTS
In most cases of a positive test result, when the parents are called in a repeat is unlikely. Parents and schools can determine their own consequences, but as a starting point, we offer the following suggestions.
On the first positive test
- Only the parents will be advised with the proviso that they agree to a follow up with another hair analysis in 100 days, or urine/saliva tests more frequently.
- The student will complete a course on the harms of marijuana and other drugs to be reviewed by the parents, and a final exam passed.
- Driving privileges will be restricted for at least one month
- If the child needs treatment, the school or local services will work with the parents to find a suitable program.
- A fine of $135 ($200 minus the $65 already paid if a Team 21 member.
On the second positive test.
Any or all of the following:
- Suspension of driving privileges for 12 months (California Law stipulates one year to get a learner’s permit or driver’s license.)
- Loss of privileges for participation in extra-curricular activities and sports until a follow up test reveals a negative or clean result. Getting coaches involved in follow up action could be instrumental in keeping kids straight. They have a vested interest in their sports team, but more importantly in the health and well being of the student.
- Enrollment in a drug education, treatment or rehabilitation program after school.
- Community service, and other conditions as determined by the parents and counselor.
- Referral to Juvenile Justice and/or Peer Court, to include a fine of $300 – $500
Additional Positive Tests
If on additional tests the child tests positive, they need to be in treatment.
- Driving privileges should be revoked, as well as participation in sports and extra curricular activities.
- Interim drug testing should be used with urine, saliva and alcohol strips.
- While they aren’t as accurate as hair testing, it takes drugs roughly 5 to 7 days to get into the hair follicles, yet it only takes a day or two for other drugs to get out of one’s system.
Leniency is encouraged on the first positive test, with more severe consequences for repeats. In all cases the intent is to keep the child in the system, not pull them out or suspend them as has been the historic “zero tolerance” policy.
RECOGNITION AND REWARDS
Students enrolled in TEAM 21, the voluntary program, will receive Student Leader ID cards with their picture and credentials. Local merchants, major retailers and insurance companies will be encouraged to give discounts. Financial rewards, recognition and endorsements for scholarships are all part of the mix to encourage a wholesome, productive lifestyle. Upper classmen can also talk to elementary school children to encourage them to stay off drugs, and follow their role model.
POTENTIAL INCOME TO SCHOOL SYSTEM
The income should be attractive to the schools, coalitions or just individuals who need to earn a living. And, what could be better than earning a living keeping kids safe and off drugs, even if they object at the time. The income can be allocated between an independent agent and the schools, depending on who does what. Or a large school district could oversee the program and pay individual schools to take and mail samples, contributing most of the income to the schools for doing so.
Hair Testing has proven to be THE best deterrent to keep kids off drugs. In some private schools that had major problems, drug use has effectively been eliminated. This program offers the same possibilities for all schools, public and private. The benefits include:
- Suspicion Based Testing will provide a deterrent to cover ALL kids.
- No cost to schools. They actually make money to cover costs by doing drug testing.
- Trust between parents and students is preserved by suspicion based testing at school.
- Schools can determine their own policy for the consequences of drug use.
- Kids learn they are accountable for their own actions.
- The onus of playing drug cop is lifted off teachers and parents.
- The program gets parents working with the schools for the child’s health and safety.
- Hair testing has a proven track record in reducing, and in some cases eliminating, drug use.
- Hair testing is more accurate and less intrusive than urine or saliva testing.
- The ACLU and drug legalizers have no legitimate stance for opposition.
- Parents should have no justifiable reason to oppose the program. Most will embrace it.
- Nobody is forced to enroll in the voluntary program. Suspicion testing covers all kids.
- Non-punitive nature keeps kids in the system instead of flushing them out.
- This program will save lives and reduce the burden on all levels of public service.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Schools, a local coalition or individual can apply to TBAC to be a Prevention Partner just by designating a proposed territory, and providing a resume or description of the organization. There is an initial cost for obtaining brochures and inventory of testing equipment, related to the number of students involved.
The Program Administrator (Agent), either in the school or the local community collation, should register all parents and students who want to participate in the voluntary Team 21 program. Participants can either present him or her with a check for $65 made jointly to the school and 21 Drug Free Challenge, with the proviso that the school keep $55 to administer the program and $10 will go to 21 Drug Free Challenge to support and expand the program. Schools will be asked to pay for the following:
- Brochures to be distributed to the parents of all middle and high school students. These brochures can be ordered through TBAC and printed with the Agents contact information; or TBAC’s will provide the graphics for a reasonable fee to cover the graphic art costs and they can be printed locally. The cost for the brochures will be approximately 7 cts each. (Example: brochures for 193,000 students would cost $13,510)
- An inventory of urine and saliva test kits for alcohol, tobacco and drugs to be kept on school property or by the agent for school use, and for sale to parents. Approximate cost $900 per school for 25 dip cards for 5 drugs ($3.60), 25 dip cards for 12 drugs ($6.50); 25 saliva on-site oral tests for 5 drugs ($8.75); 25 Redi-cups for 13 drugs ($9); 50 Alco-screen saliva strips for detecting alcohol ($1,90), and 50 one step urine tests to detect tobacco ($1.50). The school can double the cost figures indicated for sale to parents.
- Instruction manual (free)
- Certification to take hair samples and urine or saliva samples (free)
While the voluntary program can protect those who participate, it is strongly requested that the School Board adopt a policy for all middle and high school kids that in their sole discretion, any child who shows cause for concern will be hair tested, or drug tested with alternate means if necessary. In that manner, all kids will receive the added protection they need to get safely to adulthood drug free.