by: Carl Willis Updated:
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - A metro Atlanta private school is toughening its anti-drug policy by initiating drug testing for students, staff and governing board members.
"Research has been released that shows drug use among teenagers is at an
Those same studies also show a significant increase among students enrolled in independent institutions.
That is why Gulley, said Woodward's high school will begin random
"Our hope is that by having the expectation of drug testing, students will be encouraged to say no to peers when given the opportunity to take drugs or alcohol," Gulley said.
In a given year Gulley hopes to test about 40 percent of the high school population,
A first offense could land a students 15 hours of community service.
A second failed drug test would end in an opportunity to withdraw or a dismissal.
Gulley said only a handful of parents have voiced opposition.
"There has been the request for an opt-out, but we have concluded that would just render the program meaningless," he said.
School officials point to a recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University as good reason to make the change
Gulley said he's heard about more instances of drug abuse recently, even on his campus where
"We wanted to try to understand why did we have so many anecdotal reports about drug use despite what we were doing in education," he said. "(We) just came to the conclusion that there are drug use issues everywhere in society."
Gulley said the changes are slated to go into
There is no set schedule, but He said around 12 people will be tested every other week.
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