ESJ’s Drug & Alcohol Testing Procedure


Maddy Carroll '22, Editor-In-Chief

This year some of the top private schools in Jacksonville have come together and decided to implement a mandatory but randomized drug and alcohol test for upper school students. I interviewed Ms. Christy Hodges, Dean of Student Life, and asked her some questions about why, how and when this new protocol will be taking place. Dean Hodges started by saying that this idea blossomed off the complete concerns of the health and wellbeing of the students. They believe that randomized drug and alcohol testing will reduce peer pressure and help people have an “out”. They also know that students “need help with decision-making during their teenage years” and this program can help or even eliminate the chances of experimentation. 

Dean Hodges further explained that the whole goal of this program is not to punish the student but instead help him/her through these tough years and direct them on the right path. If a student does test positive, it will be handled privately with their parents. “The tests, which deliver immediate results, will be saliva-based and will be performed by a school nurse at each campus,” says NewsJax.

Not only does this test for drugs and alcohol, but it also tests for nicotine. Vaping is another huge issue in schools. It became popular in 2017, and many hope these tests will help eliminate that problem. Not only have the schools put vape detectors in the bathrooms but now they are testing for nicotine as a part of the drug testing.

Some people are for testing and think it will be a good idea and some are not so happy about it. Some have wondered why Middle School students are not being tested. Others have wondered why it matters if these things are not being done at school. Regardless, ESJ has made it clear that they are trying to help teens and not in any way shape or form make them feel scared.

Image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon.