Published September 24, 2012
EUGENE, Oregon – Two schools districts in Oregon are among a growing number of districts nationwide using random drug tests in middle school.
The Scio School District, about 25 miles southwest of Salem, conducts about 200 tests each year with about 60 tests at Scio Middle School, The Register-Guard reported.
Superintendent Gary Tempel said a 2010 policy requires random drug and alcohol testing for seventh- through 12th-graders who participate in sports or potentially hazardous activities, such as driver's education, forestry club and Future Farmers of America.
According to news reports, Central Linn School District also tests students who participate in sports and extracurricular activities in grades 7-12.
The Scio School District decided to extend drug testing as far down as seventh grade because of surveys that showed children were starting to use drugs early, Tempel said.
"The hope is, if you know you're going to be tested, you just don't start using," Tempel said. "We're trying to break the cycle before it starts."
Randomly chosen students take a Breathalyzer test and submit a urine sample, under the testing program. Urine samples are screened for illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, LSD and opiates. They also are screened for prescription drugs such as the painkiller Oxycontin.
Samples that test positive are retested. Eventually, they can work back into participating in their activity.
"If you test positive, you lose playing time, and you have to do drug and alcohol counseling," Tempel said.
Students deal only with the principal. "All the coach knows is that the kid is ineligible," Tempel said. "And there are lots of reasons for ineligibility."