Livingston HS considers random drug tests proposal

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Livingston High School officials say that they are exploring the option of adding random drug tests for students who participate in extracurricular activities, including sports.

Under the proposed policy, students who participate sports or other extracurricular activities would be automatically enrolled. Students would then be chosen at random and their identities kept confidential. Those who don't want to be tested could opt out by not participating in sports or activities.

The district said the idea is more about prevention than punishment.

“We recognize that [drug addiction] doesn’t just happen. It’s a progression,” says Superintendent Chris Steffner. “The disease is a progression, and so our goal is, if we can keep them…drug and alcohol free through high school, it stands a better chance for them to be drug and alcohol free later on in life."

But the American Civil of Liberties Union New Jersey disagrees with the plan, saying it “opposes random drug testing policies in school districts because they are invasive and counter-productive."

"Presently, there is no concrete evidence suggesting that random drug tests deter drug use among students,” ACLU officials said.

Livingston plans to spend the year gathering information and discussing the proposal with parents.

The first forum was this week. The next one is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6.

If district officials decide to move forward, a committee will be put together in the spring.

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