VIENNA, IL — A Southern Illinois school is starting off the year with a big change to its code of conduct. Vienna High School will now be randomly drug testing students.
It's only the second week of the school year. The high school hasn't received all its equipment yet, but school leaders say they're ready.
"We want them to be representatives of themselves, and also the school and the community," said principal John Giffin.
Vienna High School leaders say they feel they have a responsibility to provide more than an education for their students.
"Our primary concern is the health and safety of our students here. Anything we can do to prevent them from being a part of drugs and alcohol, that's part of raising students," said Giffin.
All students participating in extra curricular activities or who have a campus parking pass have been given a number. A computer system will randomly select a number to be drug tested throughout the year. Giffin hopes the change to the student code of conduct will prevent more students from falling through the cracks.
"We want to try and catch this early with students and be preventative. I feel a lot of times in the past we waited until we knew there's an issue," said Giffin.
Nurse Sherie Smith will be administering the drug tests. She has three kids who attend the high school. She said students these days are dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure.
"Even when we're trying to be the best parent that we can, our students can be caught into something that we don't even realize. This is our opportunity to catch things before it gets worse" said Smith.
The process is pretty simple. Smith will use an applicator to swab inside the students mouth and place the applicator into the testing device. They should get the results in a matter of minutes.
"It might be something they could use to help them say no. They could say 'No I don't want to be a part of this. I could be drug tested and not get to play," Giffin said.
If the student tests negative, they'll go back to class. If they test positive, they'll go to the local Family Counseling Center for an urine analysis to see what drug the swap test picked up on. That could impact whether the student gets to participate in those extra curricular activities.