Pleasure Island Pushes for Random Drug Testing in Schools

Pleasure Island Pushes for Random Drug Testing in Schools

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There are four schools on Pleasure Island. Two of them, Gulf Shores High School and Middle school could be the testing ground for a re-vamped drug testing program.

"We want to be a drug free community and we're going to do everything we can to accomplish that," says Orange Beach mayor Tony Kennon. He's leading the charge and has presented his case to the Baldwin county school board. "I thought the meeting went very well. The board seemed very interested. They are going to go on a fact finding mission as well and get back to us."

School board president Angie Swiger says she supports the move. "It's not a "gotcha" program where we are trying to catch kids on drugs. What we're trying to do is offer them an opportunity to opt out so they have an excuse to say no to drugs."

Orange Beach is offering to pay for the first year of the testing and would like for it to start in the fall. But this drug test will be different. It's not what you maybe thinking. They will test students hair."

"You can detect up to three months or 90 days drug use." Dr. Awadhesh Gupta says hair holds a lot more information. "Hair you cannot tamper with it so it's more reliable from that point of view and it's less intrusive because nobody is watching you pee for example."

Kennon calls random drug testing in schools an investment not an expense. "If you drug test and you do it correctly you are going to save money because you reduce absenteeism and reduce discipline issues."

The school board is waiting on a formal proposal from the city of Orange Beach before moving forward.

Federal guidelines require only students who drive to school or are involved in extra-curricular activities can be tested.

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