Zionsville school board approves random student drug testing

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. - After hours of hearing from parents and residents, the Zionsville school board voted to start randomly drug testing students Monday.

The new policy requires any student who wishes to participate in sports, clubs or park on school property to consent to the random testing. While some say this will prevent students from using drugs, others say it's an invasion of privacy and will not work.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of the testing. Members said they believe additional drug use prevention programs are also needed in Zionsville schools.

Boone County Sheriff Michael Nielsen was in attendance at Monday's meeting. He shared some statistics to reveal how prevalent drug use is among the community's young people.

"By the end of this year, we’ll be at over 20 overdose deaths of young kids, young children," Nielsen said.

While most parents at the meeting agree something has to be done to combat the drug problem, they differ on the approach.

"If we can deter those student that might  not [do drugs], give them some ammunition to say no to a friend who is peer pressuring them, then I think we are doing the right thing as a school board and a community," one parent said to the board.

"[Random drug testing] is going to cut against a sense of trust," a Zionsville mom said to the board. "There's no way around that outcome."

The policy mandates students who fail a drug test enter a drug counseling program and successfully complete it. Opponents say some parents may not be able to afford such counseling.

The district hopes to implement the policy by fall 2017.

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