FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Parents who attend open houses in the Fairfield City School District this year will be able to meet their students’ teachers, visit classrooms and pick up one unusual extra: drug tests.
A local nonprofit, the Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Fairfield, will distribute at least 500 free First Check drug testing kits this fall to parents in the district. The goal, said coordinator Deb Nyer, is to open an honest line of communication between parents and kids.
"We believe that our kids are doing their best in school, but we’re still going to look at their report card," she said. "We believe that our kids want to get home on time when we set a curfew for them, but we’re going to sit up and watch the clock to make sure they get home on time."
The same logic, Nyer said, applies to alcohol and drugs. The First Check kit, which retails for around $40, tests for marijuana, cocaine, opiates and other substances in urine. Results show up within minutes, meaning these kits don’t need to be sent in to a testing facility.
"The hope with these -- number one -- is to identify youth early in their use before they begin a lifelong cycle of addiction," Nyer said.
Fairfield is not the only school district in the Tri-State to endorse some drug-testing among its student body. Mason County, Kentucky schools will this year be able to conduct drug testing on students who participate in extra-curricular activities, such as FFA and sports; students found to be using illegal substances may be suspended or permanently dismissed from their activities, according to the Ledger Independent .
"We appreciate the effort on the part of the coalition to educate students and their families and to encourage students to make healthy choices," said Donna Martin, Fairfield schools’ coordinator of district information, to the Journal-News.
"As long as it’s optional, I don’t think it’s a bad idea," said Penny Simpson, who has two grandsons in Fairfield schools.
The Journal-News is a news partner of WCPO.