Hermitage School Board approves drug testing policy - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Hermitage School Board approves drug testing policy

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HERMITAGE, Pa - The Hermitage school board unanimously approved a voluntary drug testing policy Monday night. School officials say it is a tool for parents to intervene and for students to create positive peer pressure but one resident believes it infringes individual rights.

It is a policy Hermitage school officials say that they are implementing to try to prevent kids from becoming addicted to drugs.

Hermitage School Board President Dr. Morren Greenburg said "if we don't do something about it they could become chronic and would never hold a job, get into trouble with the law. We see that all the time."

The board unanimously approved voluntary drug testing for students at Hickory High. Students will have to give permission along with their parents.

"We don't even want the results. What we want is the positive peer pressure. Friends saying hey don't try that drug cause you might get pulled next week or next month. We're not interested in catching the kids, we're interested in them making the proper decisions," said Hickory High School Resource Officer Anthony Moses. He worked on the plan with high school principal Chris Gill.

This voluntary program is a little bit different.  It is not only for kids in extracurricular activities but for all high school students who walk the halls in grades eight through 12.

Parents are the only ones who receive the results.

"Parents have the opportunity to keep it within their family behind closed doors at their house once they get the test results or they can reach out and get help for it. It's non punitive. It's going to be totally confidential," said Moses.

But one resident who spoke out against it at the meeting said the policy is a slippery slope.

Michael Gallagher Baldoff said "I do not think it's ever a good thing to give up your individual rights and freedoms even though the intentions are good. The intentions are good, they're trying to persuade children not to get involved with drugs."

The plan is to test three to six students two times a month.

Officer Moses said that the program is being funded by community donations and they are applying for grant money.

The goal is to start February 1st.

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