Excerpted from a Ledger-Enquirer story by Mark Rice

A Columbus, Georgia private school has decided to start drug-testing its oldest students.

Brookstone School announced Wednesday that the drug-testing of students in grades 8-12 will be voluntary next school year then mandatory in succeeding years.

“The goals of this policy are proactive and preventive with the sole focus being the student’s health and well-being,” Brookstone’s news release says. “The enhancement calls for students to receive additional education on drug use while providing a reason to say no in a safe and supportive environment. There is a national drug crisis impacting all communities and all schools. Brookstone is committed to responding to this national health issue and being fully engaged in proactively making a positive difference in the lives of its students.”

Jason Branch, chairman of the Brookstone School Board of Trustees, said in the news release, “The daily news has made us all acutely aware of the significance and size of this growing crisis. We must be a part of the solution as we work to save children from this critical health issue.”
Drug-testing will improve the school’s ability to work with parents and healthcare professionals to get students the help they need and redirect their path, the news release says.

“We take the health and well-being of our students very seriously at Brookstone,” Marty Lester, the Head of School, said in the news release. “It is after much study, deliberation and discussion that we adopt this policy. It comes as a response to a national issue and our commitment to do everything we can as a school to proactively make a difference in the lives of our children and families.”

Brookstone has approximately 800 students in 3K-12, including 370 in grades 8-12, Connie Mansour, the school’s communication’s director, told the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Ledger-Enquirer asked Mansour to provide statistics that show the number of Brookstone students disciplined because of drugs. Mansour responded in an email, “The disciplinary issues related to drug use has been minimal at most. We cannot share exact statistics due to confidential reasons. But, this is not a volume issue, it is about the health and well-being of every child.”

In an FAQ, Brookstone said its research of practices at other schools found “how important drug testing programs can be in deterring drug use.”

You can read the full story here.