Prep strengthens drug testing policy


October 1, 2015

In 2010 Cathedral Prep began random drug and alcohol testing of the student body on the basis of encouraging students to avoid drugs and alcohol and keep a drug-free school environment. The process of the testing here at Prep is explicitly stated in the school handbook. Students are randomly selected by a contracted vendor. After arranging an appropriate day and time with Mr. Murnock or Mr. Swanson, they can test on up to a bi-weekly basis. A major change this year is that the contracted agency can select up to four times as many people as in prior years.

The revamp of the policy came after a widespread rumor among faculty and students at the end of last year that hair testing would be the new form of testing students. Principal Mr. Murnock confirmed that the school was indeed looking into possible hair testing this year. Hair tests can track one’s drug use up to three month prior to the taking of the sample, compared to a couple of weeks for urine tests. Mr. Murnock stated that that the school decided to go ahead with the urine test because of the cheaper cost since hair testing costs twice as much as urine tests. He also stated, based on the recommendations from students, the school wanted to stress that they will be testing more students at a time this year as a greater deterrent to prevent students from trying drugs and alcohol.

Other new additions to this year’s policy includes an option for the vendor to come in more often based on scheduling issues. The vendor the school contracts is based in Cleveland, and they service many other schools and facilities, causing scheduling issues. In the past the school had problems trying to get the vendor to come in on days that would work better for them, resulting in the vendor having to come in twice in one week.

Within all of these changes the school keeps the same underlying policy of drug and alcohol testing: first deterring students from using drugs and secondly getting the ones with problems help. Mr. Murnock expanded on how the testing will keep a drug free environment for student at Prep, in and out of school. While looking into the future of policy changes Mr. Murnock stated there is no plan at this point other than to keep it strictly an assistance policy, by not punishing students who fail a test but rather getting them help.

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