Q&A: School District Provides Answers on Random Drug Testing Program

The second community forum on the program will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the high school media center

After the school district's first community forum on its potential random drug testing program, a Q&A was developed to provide information for unanswered questions.

School employees, parents and members of the community met on Jan. 8 at the Lacey High School Media Center to discuss questions. The answers are grouped by topics below.

at 7 p.m. in the Media Center.

Those who attended the meeting are now a part of the district's Committee on the random drug testing program.

Members of the Committee include: 

  • James Handschuch, Principal
  • Karen Hughes, Athletic Director
  • Pat Crocker, HS School Nurse 
  • Anita Hergert, District Nursing Coordinator
  • Michael Maschi, Director of Special Services
  • Robyn White, Teacher, Coach, Advisor
  • Robert Dougherty, Teacher, Coach, Advisor 
  • Tyler Burt, Student 
  • Alexis Apostolos, Student 
  • Tom Faulkner, Student Assistance Counselor
  • Kelly Brown, Student Assistance Counselor
  • Vanessa Clark, Assistant Superintendent
  • Sandra Brower, Superintendent 

Random Drug Testing Program Participants 

Q: Why is the school district only looking to test a particular group of students? 
A: Public school districts in New Jersey are not permitted to randomly drug test all of their students; however, school districts can randomly drug test students involved in voluntary programs as per 6A:16- 4.4 Voluntary policy for random testing of student alcohol or other drug use.

There is a provision that allows parents and students to opt-in if they are not involved in a voluntary or privileged program such as extracurricular activities, athletic programs, and those students who hold a parking privilege. 

Q: What is an "extracurricular" activity? 
A: Extracurricular activities include all clubs, teams and athletic programs. 

Q: What if the student and/or parent refuse to participate? 
A: Any student who does not submit a signed consent form will not be eligible to participate in any extracurricular and/or athletic programs and will not be eligible for a parking pass. 

A student that has previously submitted a signed consent form and refuses to be tested or deliberately avoids testing would be deemed as having a positive test result. 

Current Programs 

Q: What is our current drug testing policy? 
A: Lacey Township School District’s current drug/alcohol policy is suspicion based only: 

If a staff member suspects that a student may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he/she shall immediately report the matter to the principal. The school nurse is also immediately notified and renders emergency care as needed. The principal will then notify the parent or guardian to take the student for an immediate medical examination and urinalysis by a licensed physician. If the medical examination verifies that the student is not under the influence, the student may return to school immediately and attend regularly while waiting for the results of the urinalysis. If the student tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the student may be suspended for up to 10 days and may attend the Student Assistance Intervention Program (SAIP). A student may not return to school until they produce a clean urine screen. 

Q: Does the district drug test students in earlier grade levels? 
A: For the purposes of random drug testing, at this time, the policy will only apply to students in grades 9 through 12. The district does have a suspicion based testing program as outlined above which applies to all enrolled students. 

Q: What is the role of Substance Abuse Counselor? 
A: Substance Awareness Counselors/Coordinators (SAC) are currently providing ongoing individual and group counseling services regarding substance abuse issues to the students of Lacey Township High School. Students are also receiving counseling support from the Substance Awareness Counselors due to their feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts and a variety of other social and emotional issues that may threaten the well-being of all students, their families and the community. 

In addition, Substance Awareness Counselors assist with in-service training of school district staff concerning substance abuse issues and the district program to combat substance abuse; serve as an information resource for substance curriculum development and instruction; assist the district in revising and implementing substance abuse policies and procedures and to develop and administer intervention services in the district. 

Q: What is our current substance abuse curriculum? 
A: Drug prevention including the use of alcohol, and other harmful substances are currently addressed within our district’s health curriculum. The district includes all of the NJ Core Curriculum Standards for Comprehensive Health in grades pre-k-12. The curriculum includes lessons on: wellness, social emotional health, decision-making, medicines, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, dependency, addiction and treatment. 

The Random Testing Program 

Q: How accurate are the drug tests? 
A: A urine drug test is 92-98% accurate. If the sample is positive, it is re-tested using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, which is 100% accurate. 

Q: What drugs will the district be testing for? 
A: Typically testing companies include a battery of tests including all illicit or banned substances including: Alcohol, Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines (Valium), Cocaine, Ecstasy, MTD (Methadone), Marijuana, Opioids (Codeine), Oxycodone, PCP, Methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstacy), Phencyclidine (PCP), Propoxyphene (Darvon), Steroids and Synthetic THC (Spice). 

Q: What is sample size of students to be tested? 
A: Typically, a random sample size ranges from 2-10% taken twice a month. 

Q: What is the timeline from when a student's number is chosen to notification, to collection, to testing? 
A: The procedure for random drug testing of students will be done with an independent drug testing vendor approved by the Board of Education. The vendor randomly selects students participating in the program for testing at regular intervals throughout the school year. 

On the day prior to the test day, the vendor will generate a list of students from the group of eligible participants. The Assistant Principal will be responsible for verifying consent forms and escorting the student to the Health Office for urine collection. 

By courier, the vendor will arrange for the specimens to be sent to the medical lab. Parents are only notified of positive results. It takes approximately 48 hours for a positive test to be verified. A Medical Resource Officer from the testing vendor will always notify the parent first if the test is positive. 

Q: What happens when a student tests positive? 
A: If a selected student tests positive for an illegal substance, the district committee is recommending that no punitive measures take place at the first level of a positive test. The parent and student will be notified that a positive result was obtained. The student will then be required to complete a series of private counseling sessions with the Substance Awareness Counselor. The committee is currently exploring a three- tier approach of intervention. 

Q: Define punitive measures vs. counseling services? 
A: Punitive measures are actions that punish. We want to help our students, not punish them. Counseling services are supportive. They are private, confidential sessions with a Student Assistance Counselor that are designed and intended to help a student with any issues concerning substance abuse. 

Q: Is the parent notified before testing? 
A: No, but a call can be made upon parent request to the principal to contact a parent/guardian if their child was selected. 

Q: Who else will be notified of a positive test? 
A: The parent/guardian is notified first. Others who will be notified include the: student, principal and/or designee, the coach/advisor, and the Student Assistant Counselor. 

Q: How will student refusal be dealt with? 
A: Student refusal would fall in violation of the Random Drug Testing Policy and would result as a positive test. The student would be required to meet with the Substance Awareness Counselor, and participate in a drug prevention/education program. The student would fall under the same guidelines for a first tier positive drug test. 

Q: What role does local law enforcement have with school programs? 
A: Law enforcement will not play any role in the random drug testing program. 

Q: Is there an appeals process? 
A: A parent wanting to challenge a positive drug test may call the Medical Review Officer and request that the split portion of the sample be sent to another lab for reconfirmation. The request must be made in writing within 5 days of notification and will be at the cost of the parent. The initial ruling will remain in effect until proven otherwise by the reconfirmation. 

Q: Should there be a second confirmation on a positive test result? 
A: There is a two-step process where the sample is divided and a portion is tested using enzyme immunoassay technology which is simple, inexpensive and accurate. If the results of that test are positive, then a second test on a portion of the remaining specimen is conducted using chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Only if both portions of the divided specimen show up positive is it considered a positive result. The accuracy of the GC/MS confirmatory test is virtually 

100% from a scientific standpoint so a second confirmation is already done on every positive test. 

The Costs 

Q: Who pays for the expense? 
A: The district would pay for the random drug testing program. The parent would only pay for costs associated with a parent’s request for a re-test should the test come back positive. 

The Reason 

Q: Why does the district feel that a random drug testing program is necessary? 
A: The district recognizes that students in Lacey may be exposed to illegal drugs at one time or another during their high school career. We want to be part of the solution to keep our students drug free. For those students who need a reason to say no, this program will provide that reason. For those who need help because they did not say no to drugs, the district will provide the support and guidance needed. There is a drug problem in our community given the ease of accessibility of drugs and alcohol. We are committed to provide yet another option to deter and detect drug use. The Lacey Township School District is committed to the safety and wellness of our school community and will look to explore any opportunity to better serve our students. The program is designed to deter drug and alcohol abuse and to provide a means for early detection so that assistance may be offered and treatment supported. 

JD January 29, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Here is the Hunterdon Central case... interesting. Also they have data to support declining drug use due to testing. http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/mcs/case_law/a27-02.pdf http://www.studentdrugtesting.org/Hunterdon%20study%2008.pdf
Winston Smith January 29, 2013 at 06:01 PM
TR, you remind me of that video on youtube where the cop thinks he has to arrest a women for having a copy of the constitution because "isnt this terrorism"?
Robert Yates January 29, 2013 at 06:09 PM
@Tom C: it really is amazing, isn't it. The funny thing is is that almost everyone on that committee will buy the rationale (or lack thereof) of that decision simply because a few judges wrote it. They won't work through the rationale to see if it makes sense. No if some well educated judges wrote it; by golly, it must be right. We need to return to plain language of the Bill of Rights and simple common sense.
Robert Yates January 29, 2013 at 06:29 PM
@ JD: The opinion shows little imaginative thought and completely fails to attribute generally accepted definitions to the words found in the amendment. The majority opinion meekly mimics US Supreme Court precedent, which has slowly but surely gutted the amendment. @TR: What is your objection to civilly discussing issues in this forum. Go to the meeting if you'd like, but they have already made up their mind and they will do what the "experts" tell them to do. They don't care what the parents think. The Supreme Court already told them they can violate the amendment.
Chris L January 29, 2013 at 06:42 PM
They arent violating anyones rights. While I do agree with you that this shouldnt be happening they are getting around the rights issue by making it an "opt in" option. Technically no one has the "rights" to be a part of the extra curricular activities or parking on campus. So if you want to, you waive your fourth amendment right for the ability to enjoy these things the school provides. So basically, if you are trying to stay away from drugs or do something with your time OTHER then drugs (is it really all that bad if the star of the science club is smoking pot?) then you are going to be punished. Not only that but your coach/adviser will find out. If I was still in school, I would have opted to quit my activities rather then agree to a drug test, and I didnt do drugs
Paul Ryans a tool January 29, 2013 at 06:45 PM
What idiots\ Q: Why is the school district only looking to test a particular group of students? A: Public school districts in New Jersey are not permitted to randomly drug test all of their students; however, school districts can randomly drug test students involved in voluntary programs as per 6A:16- 4.4 Voluntary policy for random testing of student alcohol or other drug use. There is a provision that allows parents and students to opt-in if they are not involved in a voluntary or privileged program such as extracurricular activities, athletic programs, and those students who hold a parking privilege Either you should be able to random test all or none
Robert Yates January 29, 2013 at 07:49 PM
@ Chris L: so they are essentially bribing the students to waive their constitutional rights? That is a pretty poor MO in my opinion. I also don't buy the logic. Why would anyone have less of a right to be in extra curricular activities than they do to be in school at all. Both are for educational purposes; both are for the betterment of the student and both are funded by the tax payers. I don't think that is a valid distinction. It's arbitrary nonsense.
Brian Holt January 29, 2013 at 08:12 PM
If you voluntarily participate in a school-funded activity then you should be required to be drug tested. I signed a form in 2000 when I ran Cross Country stating that i could be randimly drug tested...they never did, but they still had the ability back then. Now that the drug issue is out of control and they want to start enforcing it, so what? I do believe that they would be testing the wrong audience (though I am sure they'll catch some pot smokers), however, I stand by my statement that if you voluntarily participate in a school funded activity you should be tested. People urinate all the time, so what if one time is in a cup? If you aren't doing drugs you should have nothing to be afraid of. There are many jobs out there nowadays that required drug testing before you are hired and require random testing throughout the year...so what? If you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. Or opt out if you dont want to participate.
Chris L January 29, 2013 at 08:24 PM
@Robert, Yes thats pretty much what they are doing. The students dont have a right to extra curricular activities in the same concept that if a student is bad, does bad in school, or apparently gets caught doing drugs, they get taken out of said club. I knew plenty of kids who got kicked out for low grades. But thats because you legally need to go to school but there is no law about NEEDING to play a sport. Dont forget, some schools dont offer this stuff at all so the students who are good, get to be in the clubs. I think the bad thing about this is that kids are going to either sign without realizing it (until its too late) or not sign up for a sport because of it. I wonder if the kids in school know about this bill? I think they should keep the "friendly referral" process (thats what we called the drug program they already had. The idea that if a teacher thinks your high, then you can get a drug test but your innocent until reasonable suspicion) and push/offer home drug tests to parents. Allow a parent who thinks their kids may be on drugs to get a free drug test courtesy of the school. That way people who want in on the program can be and those who dont, dont have to be. There will still be drugs in school. i dont think the choir/basketball/tv/field hockey kids are really the people moving heavy drugs. Its the kids that wont be eligible for this in the first place and we are just punishing those who want to be active
AMAC January 29, 2013 at 08:36 PM
What is also lost is how many good kids could this affect. How many good kids make a simple and stupid mistake? Does this positive test follow them to college? It also says you are not allowed back in school until you have a clean test. Do you realize that marijuana stays in your system for 30 days or more. How does a student stay in honors classes or keep up missing that much time? I don't think they have thought this all the way through and many good kids will be devastated because of it. I applaud the concern, but this does not sound like the answer.
jamespete January 29, 2013 at 08:54 PM
To conduct a truly random drug and alcohol screening test, employers must use a statistically valid random generator. This will ensure that every employee subject to drug or alcohol screening has the same probability of being selected for each individual round of screening. Even if someone has been selected for the previous two rounds of drug testing, that person should still enter round three of selection with the same probability of being chosen as every other employee. Florida has a mandatory drug and alcohol test course at http://www.drugandalcoholtest.com/ , it's high time all other states follow this as well.
hardesthit January 29, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Here is the problem Brian, Just because you believe it is ok to randomely test, does not mean everyone does.Just because you did not find it offensive to have done nothing wrong, and then to be randomely and suddenly asked to urinate in a cup like a trained monkey does not mean that everyone thinks its ok.My tax dollars pay for my son to go to school.It is not the same as a job, where you are paid to perform a task, which gives the employer the right to expect a higher standard.Suppose a new drug comes out , that can only be detected in a more offensive manner, such as defication, this sets the precedent that it would be ok to force you to poop in a box.
Robert Yates January 29, 2013 at 09:49 PM
@Chris L: I understand what you are saying and I know the law and courts probably agree with you. What I am saying is that the distinction is invalid from a logical standpoint, especially in light of the fact that these activities are publicly funded and open to all. It's a nominal technicality that can not be used to violate the 4th Amendment.
Robert Yates January 29, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Whether or not someone has something to hide is completely irrelevant and beside the point. You can't search and seize without probable cause. Reasonable suspicion is not good enough and certainly a random criteria is not good enough. No student should be penalized for maintaining a right under the constitution. I am sure the school authorities are happy that you are willing to waive your rights. Others are not and it is wrong to penalize them.
Chris L January 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Change the situation around a little bit. Lets say that, in an attempt to keep drugs/alcohol off of school property, you had to be searched and pass a breathalyzer every time you wanted to go see a high school football game. The school would say "well its extra curricular, so you dont have to be there" but many people would say "well i HAVE to go (for my child/friend/student)". My point is, that it punishes the wrong activities and the wrong people. Yes, you may catch a few people but I strongly feel that his has more of a possibility to hurt players then help them. Also, if we catch a football player on drugs, can he still play while going through this program?
Chris L January 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM
First of all, the schools do teach about drugs and alchohol. They test about it in health class. You have to pass to graduate (im pretty sure). Second, that is for a drivers license, not for using government money playing sports. Third, that is a test on drugs, not a drug test. Finally, is an online drug test really help considering it says on the site "guaranteed to pass because you can take as many tests as you want"?
JD January 29, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Brian, You signed for random testing for steroid use. That is an NJSIAA thing that started in 2006. Although you sign at the beginning of the season, that is for teams and individuals that qualify for state tournament... and NJSIAA selects and administers. They don't test for any other drug.
Brian Holt January 30, 2013 at 12:24 AM
@Hardesthit: You are right; not everyone agrees with me and I dont necessarily disagree with your point of view. But isn't a school district that has a Zero Tolerance for Controlled Dangerous Substances allowed to enforce that zero tolerance policy regardless of how they do that? They say that there will not be any punitive punishments; shouldn't we encourage the testing so that those identified would be able to receive help? @Robert Yates: I understand your point and I am a big supporter of the Constitution, however, with no punitive punishment are they really being penalized for maintaining that right under the Constitution? The school has a zero tolerance for Controlled Dangerous Substances, are they not allowed to enforce that policy especially when the students are on school property and participating in school sponsored activities? They are catching a break considering that any CDS is illegal (whether or not one thinks pot should or should not be legalized) and all the school wants to do is help them stay away from drugs. @JD: thanks for that clarification about the steroids.
JAKE 2 January 30, 2013 at 02:22 PM
your all crazy on your concern s.... you are not looking at the entire picture !!!! your all concerned with now , what about the future !! when their addicts and sitting in jail or dead !!! believe me, you should want this random drug testing !!! Lacey is at epidemic level s with this drug abuse going on !!!! if the kids get help early it can avoid alot of heartache !
Maria C. February 01, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Excuse me but not everyone in the high school community does drugs, especially those in some type of extracurricular activity. Maybe, we should be more concerned about the students who are not involved in activities, maybe we should pay attention to the students who have obvious reasons. Saying only the students involved in extra curricular activities do drugs is absurd and insulting. These so-called "random drug tests," could very well create unneeded tension in the high school community. The refusal of a random drug testing should not be considered positive, a student could very well have reason to not submit themselves to this degrading measure and in addition, it is violating the fourth amendment as discussed earlier.
tr February 01, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Maria C. What students have "obvious reasons" to use illegal drugs in direct violation of our societies rule of law????? If it was obvious, I would hope that the parent or gaurdian would take corrective action and introduce immediate behavior modification methods. If the parent or gaurdian is the "obvious reasons" you cite, then DYFS must step in and be notified to protect the child from further negative behavior exposure.
Maria C. February 02, 2013 at 09:07 PM
tr. You are missing the point of my argument and twisting my words. A:Did you think that maybe the parent or guardian could be in denial? B: By obvious I was talking about how oblivious many of the staff at the high school are when there are drug deals right in front of them. There are students that don't partake in anything afterschool who may also skip class or leave who are involved in the action in some way. Now I'm not saying it is every student that does not do anything afterschool , I am only saying some.
JAKE 2 February 18, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Maria , no not every student in high school does drugs, true !!!! but just because your in involved in sports , or clubs , or even an honor student does not exclude anyone from being curious , not knowing the consequences on whats gonna happen to them if they get addicted...which happens ever so quickly.... ....do you know how many college students get addicted to this stuff also, no you probaly do not !!!! prescription pain pills along with herion are highly addictive, and their out there...and its bad !!! in high schools and colleges..... im pretty sure most college students do have some brain s , but their getting addicted too !!! wake up and support the drug testing !!! its so very important ! its nothing to be defensive about unless you have something to fear...and its just not some.....its alot.
JAKE 2 February 18, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Lacey Resident February 20, 2013 at 03:10 PM
AGREED Jake 2!!! I cant believe so many are actually against the random drug testing...My son is a freshman and plays sports....I would be shocked if he was doing drugs HOWEVER I am not naive .... I am sure that 99% of parents that are currently dealing with rehabs and children that are addicted to drugs also thought the same as I do ...never thought their kids would be stupid enough to even try drugs! In my opinion...this is clear, cut and simple: Its called consequences....all this Blah Blah Blah about their rights make me sick....Is a breathalyzer against our rights? Is a drunk test on the side of the street from a police officer against our rights? Drugs are illegal and there are consequences for everyone who breaks the law! The so called campaign "Just Say No" does nothing but waste our tax money! It is time to hold all high school kids accountable for their actions....Peeing in a cup is not going to cause life long damage to these children....it actually will make them think twice before they decide to try a drug that WILL effect their lives forever!
JAKE 2 February 20, 2013 at 05:28 PM
yes , it is ever so frustrating to listen to these cry baby parents complain.... to pee in a cup is not a big deal at alll.... and if they find out that their child may have tried it or a has problem , they can hopefully get it under control quick , get that child help.... opiutes only stay in your system for a short period of time , thats why it has to be a random test without warning !!! please , this is trying to help all of us , not hurt us... the problem is bad everywhere but Lacey is really bad.... please take it from, even though you dont know me... i wish my child was tested in high school, maybe our lives and my childs life would be different today !!! Lacey graduate , athlete , and a good kid , now living a life of hell !!! and yes a good kid that made a horrible choice... not knowing what they have done to themselves... support the random drug test.... its really a good thing !! no kid is gonna try something and say oh great i wanna be an addict !!! no one !!! thank you Lacey resident.... from a very sad parent and or parents !!!
Lacey Resident February 20, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Jake...you are not alone...so many parents are struggling trying to get help for their children who made the wrong choice and are now addicted. Its such a serious matter...its not just pot and drinking anymore...its the pain killers then Heroine ...once a person begins down this path it is too late ...it becomes a lifetime of hell for the user as well as the family!! Awesome families that had no clue this would be their reality!!! Wake up Lacey...our town is filled with these drugs. I can only hope that we find a way to test every student...but for now at least someone is trying to do something about this problem! For those who are so concerned about the students rights...those who feel as though it will damage the student by having them pee in a cup...then I ask you to keep your front doors open...put a large sign on your front lawn that reads: I don't support drug testing so please feel free to enter my home and take what you need!!! The reality is that this effects ALL Lacey residents....my jewelry was stollen from my home...read the police reports...too many homes have been broken into by these drug abusers....again I will say it is nothing more than consequences to their actions....lets stop coddling our children.... If this program helps one child then it is worth it...but the reality is that it will help many students, families and Lacey residents as a whole!!! Jake...I wish you and your family the best!
JAKE 2 February 20, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Lacey resident , you have said it all so perfectly !!!! you got it !!!!! that is all i am trying to say ..... be happy our schools are trying to do something about this serious issue !!! and it is.... !!! i to have no more jewelry , jewelry from grandparents etc. all gone.... our tools... stolen, and my house was not broken into....addicts will do anything for that fix when they are sick and their brain chemistry all has been screwed up !!! yes this can happen to anyone s child , and not just one s who hang out at 3 in the morning.... please please support the random drug testing ... for all of us !!! and i thank you again Lacey resident,,, best wishes to you also...
hardesthit February 21, 2013 at 12:47 AM
It is Unbelievable how quickly a society will agree to give up its rights when faced with a problem. So , rather than spend our tax dollars on more drug education and treatment and law enforcement, we will quickly remove a persons right to not be searched without probable cause. Also we will remove a parents right to decide when and if their child has the need to be tested. I submit to all of you, that every parent could easily force their child to take a drug test at any time. Please do not subscribe to the ideas of a Nanny state.suppose the state government were to decide that random drug testing was important , and that because you decided to engage in the privalage of driving, that 10% of all cars were going to be stopped and forced to urinate in a cup. Sounds crazy right.... Slippery slope. Also, just because someone has different point of view than you, does not make them whiny parents. Name calling diminishes your argument.
JAKE 2 February 25, 2013 at 05:21 PM
yea you are whining parents and you make me sick !!! This is a bad time for Lacey township with the drug epidemic.... we need to start somewhere... Big deal , you urinate in a cup....reall ? open your eyes... this is to help our youth , not hurt them , or insult them......it s reality right now.... and dont think because your their parent your gonna know what to look for , cause you wont !!!! most parents never think their child will do drugs .... well get with the program... peer pressure is so very powerful , curiousity killed the cat , they are curious, and clueless.... sooo lets get together and stop this drug problem !!! The students will be ok !!!


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