A slowly-increasing number of school districts are starting drug testing for their students. Some people might be surprised by where the testing programs are growing and the reasons for them. The drug policy director for the Missouri School Boards Association says about one-fourth of Missouri’s school districts might be doing drug testing. But Kelli Hopkins has seen the most growth in rural areas, not urban areas. She thinks one reason for the growth in rural areas is because rural communities don’t tolerate drug use as much as urban residents do.
But she says many districts don’t enact policies to catch users as much as to protect those who don’t want to use drugs. Hopkins says districts don’t implement programs because they think a lot of their students have problems. Instead, she says, the policy is implemented to give students a reason not to bow to peer pressure and use drugs.
She says court rulings say drug tests cannot be completely random but must be tied to participation in school activities. Hopkins says the most commonly abused drug by students is alcohol.