Seneca Valley drug testing program deemed successful

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Seneca Valley officials are touting another successful year in their student drug testing program.

“It was another outstanding year. 0.4 percent is our positive rate and that was better than last year when we had 0.49 percent,” said Matthew McKinley, assistant superintendent of secondary instruction at Seneca Valley.

School officials released the numbers at Monday’s board meeting.

According to a school release, there were 12 pupils who tested positive for HTC or marijuana, two for alcohol, two for amphetamines and one for both marijuana and methamphetamine.

Those 17 pupils were part of the random testing program pupils in seventh through 12th grades must submit to if they participate in athletics, extracurricular activities or drive to school.

Seneca Valley also tests pupils when there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use, which is separate from the random drug test program. Parents must give permission before those tests are given. There were 21 positive drug tests for those tested due to reasonable suspicion, according to a news release.

Seneca Valley started drug testing 12 years ago and those tested because they are involved in sports, activities or drive to school are randomly chosen by Sport Safe, a Powell, Ohio, company hired by the district to administer the program.

Matt Franz, director of Sports Safe, commended the district for its 0.40 percent results in 2013-14. He stated in a news release that 2.3 percent was the national average in other schools random drug test programs.

Mr. McKinley said there were follow up drug tests for those who tested positive. He said out of those follow up tests there were only three that tested positive for drugs again.

He said the program is not meant to be punitive, but to make families aware of any drug issues. When a pupil tests positive for drug use, the first call is to their home, school officials said.

Laure Cioffi, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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