The only Catholic high school in Butler County has decided to join a growing list of area schools putting their students through mandatory drug tests.
Officials at Badin High School in Hamilton announced the school’s first drug testing program Tuesday, saying each of its more than 600 students will be subject to unannounced tests starting in January.
It’s a first for Badin in its more than half-century of existence. It is the second area Catholic high school to announce drug testing programs for students.
In the 2018-19 school year, Fenwick High School in the Warren County portion of Middletown saw officials there begin student drug testing. And Butler County’s public Edgewood Schools also conducts student testing.
For the 2018-19 school year, Fenwick High School initiated its first student drug tests. All 530 students were tested, and eight of them, or 1.5 percent, were found positive for drugs.
At least four other Catholic schools in the area — Cincinnati LaSalle, Dayton Carroll, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne and Kettering Alter — have drug testing in place.
“This is in the best interests of the students,” said Principal Brian Pendergest. “The impact of drug use on young students and their families is staggering and our community is not immune to this issue.”
Pendergest said the drug testing is an appropriate action for the school.
“We’re talking about a health and wellness issue, not a punitive issue,” Pendergest said. “For their own well being, students should not be doing drugs. We want to help them make the right choices.”
Officials said results, which will come from testing urine and hair samples, would be confidential between the school, the student and the family.
Each student will be randomly tested at least once per school year, though some students will be tested more than once so they won’t believe they can use drugs without detection after they are tested, officials said. .
“If a student tests positive, our first response will be to work with the families and the student to try to avoid these habits in the future,” Pendergest said. “Our objective is not to catch students doing drugs. Our objective is to help students not do drugs.”
Teachers at Badin High School are already subject to drug tests as part of their employment contract.
Pendergest said the new program will also provide students with an extra shield against peer pressure from those trying to persuade them to try drugs. Students will now be able to also cite the school’s testing policy as part of their reason for rejecting drugs.
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