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Drug Testing Begins At West Platte Schools

The West Platte school board has approved a measure requiring students in 7th through 12th grades to opt-in to a drug testing program.  Those who will choose not to pass a drug test will not be allowed to park the car in the school parking lot and participate in extracurricular activities.

According to West Platte School Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler, those privileges come with additional stipulations.  He said the school will be using the same standards as the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).  Students’ privacy will be respected.  Approximately ten students will be tested once a month, after being chosen by a third party.

If a student tests positive, classes are not affected in any way.  But the student’s extracurricular options will be restricted for 30 days after a first offense.  Extracurricular activities include theater, volleyball, football and other school sports.

Students have the ability to select to undergo a drug counseling program on their first offense.  This would decrease their suspension from 30 days to 15 days.  The cost of the program would be on average $2,000 a year.  Two local businesses have donated money so that the district doesn’t have to pay for the program.

Six foot nine-inch student Bryce Cashman says basketball will play a big role in his future, and he wouldn’t hurt his chances by using drugs.  He wants to continue on to college and drugs would interfere with his plans for life.  Cashman says even in West Platte schools, drugs are becoming a problem ― especially in the junior and senior classes where the faster pace and social life creates additional pressures.

School administrators say they hope the new testing program will dissuade students from using drugs.  Cashman says it will help.