Random drug testing to begin for Glynn County high school students

Students in extracurriculars to be potentially tested starting next school year

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – Random drug testing for high school students who participate in extracurricular activities in Glynn County Public Schools will begin next school year.

On Tuesday night, Glynn County Board of Education members voted 6-0 to begin the testing in the 2018-19 school year in hopes it will cut down on the students doing drugs. 

The superintendent said all students at the county's two high schools -- Glynn Academy and Brunswick High School -- will potentially be tested if they're involved in extracurricular activities or even park on school property. 

Glynn County Schools Superintendent Dr. Virgil Cole told News4Jax on Wednesday that board members voted unanimously to begin the random drug testing next school year because of the alarming number of drug users among the county's high school students.

"We just hope to educate our students and help them realize the dangers of this and keep them from making those bad choices because, when they go down that road, it becomes very hard sometimes for those children to get off of it," Cole said.

That means before students grab their rackets to play for the tennis team, head to the diamond to play baseball or participate in any other sport or extracurricular activity, they will have to sign paperwork agreeing to random drug tests. 

About 1,500 of the 3,600 students in the county's two high schools participate in extracurricular activities. The district's goal is to test 10 percent of them at random each year. 

Victoria Jackson, who has five children attending Glynn County public schools, said she fully supports the idea. 

"I think drugs and alcohol are tremendously bringing our young youth down in major ways," Jackson said. "There are a lot of high school dropouts. They’re failing. They’re not focused. Drugs are taking control in the community of our young teenagers."

Other parents who News4Jax spoke with had mixed feelings, saying they want to keep students safe, but they also want to learn more details.

The superintendent said the district will be getting community input in the coming months to make sure the drug-testing process is done in a safe and respectable manner to keep students comfortable.

The drug tests will test for eight different drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and some forms of steroids. The district will pay a third-party for each test, which will cost $30-35 each. 

Camden County, a neighboring district of Glynn County, also does random drug testing. 

Duval County Public Schools does not have random drug testing for students participating in extracurricular activities.

"We follow all the guidelines of the Florida High School Athletic Association," a DCPS spokeswoman said. 

St. Johns County School District also does not have random drug testing.

"Our athletes and their parents do sign a pursuing victory with honor contract though. It’s located in the student code of conduct online," a spokeswoman for the district told News4Jax.