New drug testing policy takes effect in Perry Township

In a recent effort to curb student drug use and confront the vaping epidemic, Perry Township has enacted a new drug testing policy allowing for student drug testing on-site.

“We have been trained, as an administrative team, to perform the drug tests,” principal Kert Boedicker says.

Boedicker repeated that the policy is meant, in his eyes, to benefit students and help them get past drug use and addiction.

“I think it’s giving students an easy reason to say ‘no’ to peer pressure,” he says. “This standard is put in place as a proactive position.”

Boedicker stressed the importance of reasonable suspicion, stating that “some indicator the student might be impaired” is necessary to move forward with a drug test.

“Reasonable suspicion,” the foundation of the new policy, is the schooling equivalent to the legal world’s “probable cause.” Beyond requiring reasonable suspicion, the new policy has a check to prevent students from being unfairly tested in isolation.

“If an assistant principal has established reasonable suspicion, they still have to counsel with another administrator to make a determination if they’re going to apply the drug test,” Boedicker says.

He also described the drug test as “not invasive at all.” 

The test consists of taking a saliva sample with what looks like a cotton swab and sending it to a lab for analysis. The results of the drug test are determined within a few days.

When it comes to consequences for testing positive, Boedicker says there is “still going to be further conversation as to what that will look like.”

For now, he mentioned established punishments.

“Right now, at Perry Meridian High School, if you’re under the influence, you can be suspended up to 10 days and recommended for expulsion,” he says. 

He also mentioned alternative paths.

“We offer a five-ten option, where students, instead of being subjected to expulsion, we suspend for five days, we have the students do some things to keep themselves away from [drugs,] and they have to submit another drug test within 45 days,” he says. “They’re proactively saying, ‘I’m taking ownership of this, and I’m going to try to help stay away from that.’”