Random drug tests show low numbers at Beaufort Co. schools - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Random drug tests show low numbers at Beaufort Co. schools

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The Beaufort County School District says only a small amount of student athletes are using illegal drugs.

A report made to the Board of Education shows less than three percent of the students tested positive for drug use last semester. The district began randomly testing teens who participate in school athletic programs for illegal drugs. 

The district says even though they would like that number to be zero percent, it’s still a good sign that not many students are participating in illegal drug use.

Fall 2015 was the first time the school district began randomly drug testing students.

“Students have been very receptive. From the conversations that I’ve had with student athletes they do know the dangers drugs and alcohol and they’ve been carrying the torch and saying we don’t want to participate in these types of activities,” said Dr. Gregory McCord, Beaufort County School District.

Out of the 1,000 drug tests administered from August to December, 23 students in the county tested positive for drugs and only three tested positive on a 2nd drug test.

All of the positive drug tests showed the students were using marijuana. School officials believe society’s acceptance of the drug is somehow correlated with its popularity among teens. They're using the new drug policy to send a strong message: No illegal drug use is acceptable.

“We are pleased with knowing that our efforts are not in vain. We do know however that we still have a lot of work to do but most importantly, the opportunity to provide parents and students with the discussions involving alcohol and drugs use and abuse is definitely going to benefit our students in the long run,” said Dr. McCord.

The students who test positive aren’t banned from school sports, as long as they get counseling and pass a follow up drug test.  

“Our program is rehabilitative. We don’t want to have a student place off of the particular sport team. We do want the student to receive help and we hope to do that with the assistance of the family,” said Dr. McCord. “When we did in fact have a student athlete test positive, the approach that he took to it was to speak to his peers without any coercion or any rehearsal. He spoke from the heart about how he realized he made a mistake and he didn’t want anyone else to follow in his footsteps.” 

The superintendent asked the school board Friday to make students who drive to school and participate in extracurricular activities eligible for drug screening next year. They haven’t made a final decision yet.  

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