Three Northeast Ohio high schools start random drug testing for all students

CLEVELAND - Three local high schools have committed to conduct drug tests of all of their students.

Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, St. Edward High School in Lakewood and St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland announced a joint initiative Tuesday.

The schools will test all students at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year and then conduct random tests throughout the school year.

Given the climate in today's world, school officials felt they needed to take this proactive step. They also stressed this program is meant to be preventative, not punitive.

"This is all about safety. It's all about their wellness," said St. Ignatius High School president, the Rev. Bill Murphy. "It's about helping to protect them so that they can grow into great young men."

While some students were surprised at first when hearing about the new program, they realized that it was a good idea.

"I think it's extremely helpful," said St. Ignatius junior Mark Raddell. "I think that it will motivate kids to get off drugs or provide them with help if they need it."

Some students believed the non-punitive aspect of the program will make it easier for students to come forward and ask for help.

"I think it will be much easier for students to feel comfortable talking to an adult knowing that they are not trying to get them in trouble, but trying to get them the counseling that they need," said St. Ignatius junior John Price.

The tests will be from hair samples.

Psychemedics Corporation, based in Boston, will test the samples.

Students who test positive for drugs will be offered counseling and community resources.

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