Missouri high school to collect students' hair for mandatory drug testing

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A Missouri Jesuit high school is planning to collect hair samples from students to conduct random, mandatory drug tests, a plan administrators say is for the students' own good.

KHSB reports staff members at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City plan to cut off hair samples from 60 random students during the 2013-14 school year and test them for several types of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. Participation in the program is mandatory.

If a student tests positive, they will have 90 days to produce a negative test.

“Our point is, if we do encounter a student who has made some bad decisions with drugs or alcohol, we will be able to intervene, get the parents involved, get him help if necessary, and then help him get back on a path of better decision making, healthier choices for his life,” Rockhurst Principal Greg Harkness told KHSB.

The school says the record of the student's failed drug test will be destroyed upon graduation, and will never be sent to any college or university. The school was compelled to enact the new policy after a survey of students proved troubling for the administration.

“What was most alarming for us is that when you asked our students if everyone else is doing it, they said 'Yes.' But, in fact, they weren’t. It’s that perception I think among teenagers today that fuels the peer pressure – that there’s this idea that 'Everyone is doing it, so I guess I have to do it myself,” Harkness told KHSB.

The station reports most parents at the school approve of the new plan, but students are mixed.

The school's policy is allowed because it is a private institution. A public school would be restricted from doing the same because of the Fourth Amendment, CBS St. Louis reports.

The local chapter of the ACLU says though not illegal, the school's policy is "a colossal waste of money," CBS St. Louis reports.

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