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Howard County Schools Tighten Drug Testing Policies

drug free school zone sign

Photo: Elvert Barnes (Flickr)

Eastern Howard School Corporation says with the revisions, its drug policy is more in line with the rest of the state.

Eastern Howard School Corporation in Greentown has revised its drug policy for this school year.

Eastern Howard has been performing random drug tests in its high school for several years. The results of those tests have always been sent to the students’ parents. But now the they will also be shared with school administrators.

District principal Tracy Caddell says students who fail the test could be suspended from extracurricular activities or school and be forced to go to counseling.

“School officials have a desire to make sure their buildings are safe and that kids get the information they need regarding substance abuse,” he says.

To make sure the revised policy would be legally sound, Cadell says it fashioned after Rush County Schools’ policy. Four parents took Rush County to court for privacy violations in 1998, but the drug policy was upheld.

Indianapolis attorney Rod Taylor argued the case for the school district, and he says the federal court’s decision to uphold the policy has set a precedent for other school districts like Eastern Howard.

“Different rules apply when you have impressionable young people that need direction,” he says. “They need protection if you will. That’s what our schools do. Then outside of that, a different set of rules apply and the shackles so to speak come off.”

The tests are done randomly by selecting student identification numbers. The Eastern Howard School Corporation’s policy says anyone involved in the drug testing must adhere to a confidentiality agreement to protect students’ privacy.

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