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Dan Hood of ASL Testing based in Elkhart was on hand at this week's meeting of the South Adams Schools Board to discuss the process of random student drug testing.
Hood said that the company, which has been in business for nearly nine years, currently does drug testing for 44 school corporations and 45 county probation departments in Indiana. He added that drug tests get challenged every day, and the company has never had a case where its reports were rejected as evidence. "The possibility of a false positive is zero," he said.
Hood explained the process of the saliva drug test, noting that the schools' principals each took one prior to the meeting.
The students will take the test virtually all on their own, said Hood. During the test, a sterile pad is placed under the tongue, and when one milliliter of saliva is collected, the handle tip turns blue, indicating that the test is complete. The process takes approximately three to five minutes to complete. The samples are mailed to ASL by UPS overnight, and are tested the same day they are received.
The screening process tests for 40 specific drugs. Hood said that negative test results are reported the day they are received and positive results usually take around 48 hours to report.
The random student drug testing at South Adams does not include testing for steroids because it is too costly for schools. Hood said steroid tests cost anywhere from $500 for an NCAA test to $1,200 for an Olympic test.
According to South Adams Superintendent Scott Litwiller, the schools will pay approximately $5,800 over the course of the 2011-12 school year, testing seven students per week at $21 to $23 per test.
All students in sixth through twelfth grades who participate in athletics, other extracurricular activities, co-curricular activities, and/or who drive to school are required under the policy to sign a consent form which will enter them into the random drug testing pool. Students who test positive will have three levels of consequences.
For students who participate in athletics, the consequences will follow the athletic code of conduct for the first through third offenses.
For those who participate in an extracurricular activity, a co-curricular activity and/or drive to school, the first offense will be a 45-day suspension from the activity. The second offense will result in suspension from the activity for the remainder of the school year, and a third offense will result in suspension from the activity for the remainder of the student's middle school or high school career.
Additional requirements being considered for positive tests are followup tests and verification of enrollment in a drug rehabilitation counseling program.