A New Jersey school district is proposing random alcohol and drug testing for thousands of high school students who could lose school privileges and be forced to undergo counseling if they test positive.
Parents protested at a school board meeting Monday, where a preliminary plan was outlined that would affect 5,000 students at the Demarest and Old Tappan high schools.
The district says students would not be suspended and the drug test results would not go on their disciplinary records, but the penalties and loss of privileges become more severe if additional positive results are discovered.
The school says it hopes the policy acts as a deterrent for students against drugs and alcohol.
But at the meeting, a majority of parents disagreed.
They expressed anger at the proposal and said their opinions weren’t included enough in the process.
“It seems very sudden that such a big policy like this would be coming to a school district such as Northern Valley without the knowledge of parents,” said parent GC Vaghasia.
“The data is all over the place,” said Jamie Kopf, another parent. “It’s not something that’s conclusively proven to help reduce use of drugs.”
According to the district, the policy will likely be fine-tuned over the summer and could possibly be implemented by the beginning of the next school year.