Notre Dame High enters 2nd decade of random drug tests - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Notre Dame High enters 2nd decade of random drug tests

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Despite some early concerns, the random drug testing program at Notre Dame High School seems to be flourishing after ten years.

In 2002, the school chose a unique program called "SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment)."  Principal Perry Storey calls the program "outstanding."

"When we started, it was based on the best practices that we observed in other non-public schools around the country, including Christian Brothers in Memphis and other Catholic schools.  We are very pleased with the results.

The school has performed more than 5500 random hair tests with only 63 positive findings.  Of those, 48 completed the school's requirements, allowing them to remain at Notre Dame.  Only fifteen chose not to continue at the school.

"We believe in setting the bar high," Storey said, "and I think our students are proud to be a part of this.  It is a safe environment."

The testing at Notre Dame id done by Physician Services of Cleveland, using hair tests that track drug usage for up to 90 days.  A student is guaranteed to be tested at least once during the school year, but is subject to other testing based on the random selection process.

Storey said, "We keep the process open and fair.  We have been able to turn lives around, and get to these young people before it becomes an academic or discipline issue.  And it gives students another reason to stay out of trouble when they're around bad influences.  Plus it gives them a glimpse of the process they will encounter when they leave high school and enter the work force."


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