BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Drug testing has been a hot button issue in the southern part of Baldwin County since Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said the city would fund a drug testing program .
While the City of Orange Beach works on that proposal, school board members wondered what parents would think about expanding drug testing county-wide. A survey is being taken right now to find out.
DRUG TESTING SURVEY
It's a survey with 12 questions. It's meant to gauge how parents of Baldwin County students would feel about a random drug testing program.
Parent Lydia Barber said she thinks it's a good idea.
She told us, "We need to know what our kids are doing, and I know it's a liability issue. And I understand that, and I agree with them."
DRUG TESTING COSTS
A random drug testing program was in place in Baldwin County Public Schools until 2008. Officials said it was cut during the recession to spare jobs. If the program is revived, paying for it would be a big consideration.
Terry Wilhite, with the Baldwin County Public School System said, "It comes down to a financial issue. We're educators. We're in the education business. Do we need to take some of those dollars and spend it on drug testing for students? That's essentially the question that we're asking."
OTHER QUESTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
Another one of the big questions on the survey is whether parents would prefer urine or hair testing. Urine testing can only detect drug use back several days. Officials said, however, it's cheaper, costing about $35 per test.
Hair testing can detect drug use back 90 days, but officials said it's twice as expensive.
Parents who participate in the survey will also learn about the law that limits who can be tested. Only students who drive onto campus or who participate in extra-curricular activities can be tested. That is federal law.
"Federal law and federal court precedent spells out who can be tested, and how they can be tested," Wilhite told us.
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