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Drug Testing Coming to New Jersey Middle School

A New Jersey school district is trying to combat drug use among middle school students by implement a random drug testing program.

Educators in Belvidere hope the voluntary tests will prevent drug crimes, substance abuse and addictions, and psychological problems among students.

Oxford Street School principal Sandra Szabocsik said, "I'm hoping that it will be a deterrent."

The program will require both students and parents to voluntarily agree to the testing.

The 100-student school has had no reported substance abuse problems.

The principal said students who fail the random tests will not be turned over to law enforcement. They will instead receive counseling, she said.

One seventh grader ABC News spoke with said he thinks the program is a good idea and that he plans to participate. However, he wonders about the effectiveness of a voluntary drug testing program.

He said kids who are taking drugs are "probably not going to sign up."

The school district's high school students are already subject to drug testing. However, for them participation isn't voluntary. It's mandatory.

A school board member who voted against the measure said the district is overstepping its bounds by requiring high school students to take drug tests.

"We're stepping into the realm of trying to be the police," she said.

She also believes middle schoolers may simply find the idea of participating in random urine tests an embarrassing proposition.

An ACLU spokesperson said studies show the testing is ineffective. Plus, it sends the wrong message to students about the ability of government to intrude on the lives of citizens.

Resource: ABC News: "Middle Schoolers Face Random Drug Testing": January 13, 2011

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