Giving teens another reason to say no to drugs

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (Brad Underwood) — When students returned to New Richmond High School Thursday, August 20, it’s under a new rule.     There will be random drug tests for many of the students. The concept isn’t new but, it’s new to New Richmond. And, what the school district plans to do with the information is also a little different.     Overall, the new random drug testing policy was being praised by parents Local 12 News spoke with. The testing was directed toward certain groups of students but open to all and because of what’s at stake for the kids, this was yet another move to give students another reason to say no to drugs. As practice wrapped up on the eve of the first day of school, student athletes continued to put in the work. If they want to keep playing, they’ll have to follow one more rule: no drugs. Theo Baca is the parent of a 9th grader and said, “I think it’s a great idea. In today’s society with heroin as bad as it is we need to keep an eye on our kids.” Baca watched his daughter from the bleachers as New Richmond girls’ soccer scrimmaged with Bethel. Baca said he was proud the district was doing the testing and believed it will help curb drug use, “If you love a sport or you love whatever you’re doing or you love your driver’s license you probably are not going to put that a risk for some dumb drug.” If students play a sport, if they’re involved in extracurricular activities or if they drive to school they’re subject to the random testing. “the number one reason we do this is to give our students a reason to say no,” said district superintendent Adam Bird. He said there was little opposition to the testing. It was another tool in prevention, “Many times our students find themselves in social situations and they need something else to help them say no to drugs, say no to peer pressure. When they know they might be tested come Monday, it gives them a reason to say no.” The testing will be done by an outside agency. Students who qualify for the testing will be assigned a number and put into a database and then drawn at random for testing. At the moment the district hasn’t released when the first random screenings could take place or how many will be tested at a time. If a teen tests positive they will be denied participation for a percentage of time or number of days. A second positive, that percentage of time or day’s will be increased. A third time will land the student a permanent removal of participation for the remainder of enrollment for sports, driving or after school activities. All students who participate in sports, extracurricular actives and drive to school were required to sign the policy. If they didn’t, they don’t get to participate or park at school.