PENSACOLA, Florida (WALA) - Escambia County schools in Florida are taking more measures to keep drugs out. Thursday night the school board unanimously voted in random drug testing at middle and high schools starting next year.
Those subject to testing are students who play sports, participate in extra curricular activities and those who drive on campus.
Escambia County Schools Superintendent, Malcolm Thomas hopes the testing will prevent kids from ever trying drugs.
"It's that beginning point we're trying to deter," Thomas said. "If I can get you to say no from the beginning and I want to say no because I want to be in the band. I want to be on the football team and I'm not going to jeopardize my future. It gives them a way to save face in their peer group."
The majority of parents who have children in Escambia County schools are of the same opinion.
"I just don't think it's the worst thing and I do think it could be a deterrent," said Melissa Sontag. "Kids today have to be called out. They have to be held responsible for certain actions."
"I want to know what my kid is doing. If my kid cannot come to me and talk to me, I want to know if their doing something to me," Michael Washam said.
Washam's son plays ninth grade football at Pine Forest High School. He was on board with the program too.
"It would be good for everybody to make sure everybody's clean and stuff like that and physically fit to be able to play sports and stuff like that," Washam's son said.
The ACLU opposes the measure, saying the district is trying to take over the role of parenting. They describe the move as fiscally irresponsible and an expansive growth of government. Superintendent Thomas says the process is legal and fair. Any student that tests positive will have the right to an independent test before any action is taken.
"If it's still positive, that's the point where you would be removed from extra curricular. Then, the parent has to agree with the school on an approved plan to get the student help," said Thomas.
The new drug testing policy is the latest of several initiatives to keep drugs out of schools. They already get random sweeps by drug sniffing dogs.
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