Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, August 9, 2013
A suburban Chicago high school is introducing a new kind of test for its students this fall – mandatory alcohol testing.
St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., plans on using hair samples from each of its students to determine whether a student has consumed alcohol over the past three months. The testing will be done in addition to the mandatory drug testing the school already conducts.
According to The Chicago Tribune, all 1,000 students at St. Viator will be tested at the beginning of the school year. The school will then select about 15 students each week for random drug testing throughout the year. Since the school began implementing mandatory drug testing in 2007, less than one percent of all drug tests have come back positive.
School officials also acknowledged that trace levels of alcohol in the body – such as that consumed from sipping wine during communion – shouldn’t trigger a positive alcohol test.
Students who do test positive are required to attend a meeting with their parents, counselor and the president of the school. The student must then pay for another test 100 days after the positive one; a second positive test can result in expulsion from the private school.
Although St. Viator is among the first in the state to implement mandatory alcohol testing, the American Civil Liberties Union doesn’t plan to launch a challenge against it anytime soon. A spokesperson for the ACLU told CBS Chicago that the organization is limited in how it could go after the policy because it’s a private school.
There also doesn’t seem to be too much concern among students and parents at the private school. In fact, the majority of them seem to be in favor of the testing.
“It’s a great vehicle for them to understand that if you’re not going to be accountable to your parents, you’re going to be accountable to somebody,” said Joe Farwell, a parent of a student at St. Viator, told CBS Chicago.
“Kids fear getting suspensions from school or detentions even and maybe what their parents will do, if they find out they’re getting caught, so I think it actually will make a difference,” St. Viator student Miguel Aguilar added.