Decisions to test students for drug use and how best to adopt a program of random testing should be deliberated carefully. Among other important considerations, parents, teachers, and school administrators need to decide if drugs are a significant threat and if testing is an appropriate response. There is no right answer and no "one size fits all" program.
Schools should engage legal counsel familiar with Federal, State, and local law regarding drug testing before implementing a testing program.
Once mindful of the relevant legal issues, seek support from the community. Student drug testing is designed to provide students and communities with safer schools by reducing drug use. Make sure to communicate this important rationale to the relevant groups so they understand the goals of drug testing are to prevent initiation, to keep non-dependent use from worsening, and to help drug-dependent students become drug-free.
Work together with educators, parents, administrators, coaches – anyone who has an interest in helping children reach their personal and academic potential – to develop a program that fits the needs of the school. Discuss what to do when test results are positive to ensure those students get the help they need.
Covering program costs can seem challenging at first, but keep in mind that random student drug testing programs can be effective even when as little as 10% of the eligible students are tested. Federal, State, and local funding sources can be used to support student drug testing programs, and many schools have had success bringing in needed money through fundraisers.