Voluntary Drug Testing Program
The Vestavia Hills City Schools Voluntary Drug Testing Program is a student drug-testing program that aims to reinforce a positive drug-free lifestyle. The program offers a way for 7th through 12th grade students to say NO when presented with a choice to escape in illegal drug use. Graduating seniors who do not test positive for drug use from the date of enrollment through graduation will receive a certificate that can be included in college application packages or job applications. Students transferring from the Vestavia Hills City Schools system are eligible for a certificate during the timeframe of their enrollment in the program. Students participating in the program agree to undergo random drug screening on any school day, but not more than once per semester.
To withdraw from the program, the student’s parent or legal guardian must submit a written request to the program director, Dr. Patrick Martin. Students who withdraw from the program will not receive a drug-free certificate, regardless of prior test results.
A student who tests positive once during his/her enrollment in the program may complete an appeals process to recover his/her certificate eligibility. The student and parent or legal guardian must fulfill the entire appeals process by completing the following:
- Filing a formal, written appeal to the program committee, expressing a desire to be reinstated for the purpose of earning a certificate.
- Parent and student must appear in person before the committee.
- Parent and student must present evidence of successful completion of any drug abuse programs, counseling or any other measures completed to address the prior drug use.
The committee will then determine whether to reinstate the student. Committee decisions will be reported in writing and will be final.
Students who test positive more than once can remain in the testing program, but they will not receive a drug- free certificate and there will be no additional appeals process.
Student program files will be securely maintained separate from other student files. All students in the program are eligible to be tested at any time. On the day of testing, after testing is complete, testing agency personnel or school officials will attempt to contact the parent or legal guardian listed on the consent form using the contact information provided on the consent form to make him/her aware that the student was tested.
Drug Testing Procedure
Safety First, a certified testing agency, will conduct the testing. Safety First will randomly select students for testing. Students participating in the program will be notified on the day of testing and provided with a designated location at his or her school to provide a urine specimen. Safety First personnel will utilize standard dipstick collection and drug testing guidelines. Samples will be assigned unique specimen identification numbers during the testing and reporting phases.
In the event of a non-negative test result, the sample will be transported to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) testing laboratory for confirmation. Upon completion of the SAMHSA laboratory confirmation of any non-negative drug screen result, the testing company’s Medical Review Officer (MRO) will inform the Program Director as well as the parent or legal guardian. This confirmation process is automatic and part of the $40 annual fee to be paid at registration prior to the academic year.
Prescription and Over the Counter Medications
Students taking prescribed medications at the time of testing are encouraged to participate. If the drug testing indicates the presence of a prescription drug or over the counter medication, the MRO will contact the student’s parent or legal guardian. The MRO will determine whether the positive test result was due to legal or illegal use of the reported substance. If a positive result is verified by the MRO to be legal use, the MRO will deem the results as NEGATIVE. If a positive drug result cannot be verified to be legal use, the MRO will deem the result as POSITIVE.
POSITIVE DRUG TEST RESULTS
The program will monitor current drug use trends and non-negative test results. This information and data may be used to revise testing, if needed.
The program is non-punitive. In the event of a non-negative test result, law enforcement agencies will not be notified of the test results. The program will track eligibility as determined by Safety First. Safety First will notify the parent and student privately about the confirmation option and, if needed, information on counseling and treatment. If re-testing is needed, this will be scheduled as soon as appropriate.
Successful completion of a counseling program is paramount to the success of the program. The professional counselor will determine the appropriate treatment. All requests for additional testing (at parent or legal guardian expense) must be directed through the program director and not directed to the testing laboratory. The un-opened split container of urine will be utilized for the purposes of re-testing in the event of any challenge.
A parent or legal guardian may challenge any confirmed positive result; any additional testing performed will be at the expense of the parent or legal guardian.
It is important to emphasize the purpose of the program is to reward positive, healthy behaviors. Testing for drugs in the program is in no way an investigative tool of a law enforcement agency. Positive results will not result in criminal prosecution. The benefits of the program come from actively participating in the program through all grades.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Patrick Martin - 205-402-5100.