OGDEN -- Ogden High and Mount Ogden Junior High students will be subjected to random drug testing if they want to participate in sports or other activities next school year.
The school board has approved a pilot program that will cost $2,500 to implement next year. The school board will pay half and the schools will pay the rest.
"We basically want to give the kids another chance to say no," said district athletic director Ken Crawford.
Crawford said if student athletes are offered drugs they can easily say no because they may be required to do a random drug test.
Three students will be tested each week at Ogden High and one at Mount Ogden. Only ninth graders at Mount Ogden will be included in the random drug testing.
"We figured since they are participating in some high school sports, it would be good to have them participate as well," Crawford said.
The program is similar to the program that Bonneville High School has been using for several years.
"They have seen great success with theirs and we are hoping for the same thing," Crawford said. Positive outcomes have dropped there significantly.
"I think the kids got the message," he added.
District and board officials want to try the program at one school to see how it works, and Ogden High volunteered, said board member Shane Story.
The district has contracted with Liquid Solutions to administer the weekly tests. Students are selected at random and will use a faculty restroom for the tests. They will be asked what prescribed medications they are taking before taking the test.
"It will be pretty clear and concise," Crawford said.
If the test is positive, parents will be notified before a second test is given. If the second test is still positive, the student will be suspended for two events; if the positive drug test comes in violation with that particular sport or activity's code of conduct, those consequences will be enforced as well. Students will also have to go through a drug and alcohol screening administered by Weber Human Services or private party parents can choose for the screening.
District spokeswoman Donna Corby said random drug testing is not new to the area with Weber School District doing it and Morgan School District considering it.
"We just decided to go forward with it," she said.
Crawford said the district does know of students at both Ogden High and Mount Ogden who were using drugs while participating in sports this school year.
"Any kid that is using is a problem," Crawford said. "If this gives kids a chance to say no, that's what we want to do."
The district's policy is drug testing for school activities, so the administration will determine just what those activities are. Students participating in band or cheerleading, for example, could also be included in the drug testing pool, Crawford said. Those specific details have not been determined yet, he said.
"We feel like the school administrators have an idea of what groups should fit into that," he said.