Township poses drug testing protocol: direct response to vaping epidemic

Diana Pyle, Page Editor

On Sept. 30, Perry Township announced that it is considering a tougher drug policy in its schools. The new policy would permit the administration to drug test students who appear to be under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol.

The creation of the new policy comes as a direct response of the vaping epidemic, according to Assistant Superintendent Robert Bohannan

“Vaping has become so prevalent and not just at our two high schools, but around Marion County and the country and it’s important we get ahead of this the best we can,” Bohannon says. 

The current policy at PMHS, as outlined in the Student Rights & Responsibilities manual, states that drugs and alcohol are not to be permitted on campus, and students who have possession of them are subject for expulsion. Section two of the Student Behavior Plan states that searches of students are authorized under “reasonable suspicion,” though  it does not state what that constitutes.

The potential policy as of now states that “reasonable suspicion” would include a student’s behavior in addition to appearance, actions and/or odor, if the student is in possession of a drug or drug paraphernalia, and if a parent, school employee or officer indicates a student is possessing or using. Under the proposed policy, students would be subject to a drug test if warranted by the  reasonable suspicion outlined.

The new drug testing policy does not explicitly state if the test will include a nicotine screening. The proposal is still under works, and it is unclear when it will face the board again for a second reading and possible vote.