PALM DESERT, Calif. - Xavier Preparatory, a private Catholic high school in Palm Desert, made a bold decision this week. The administration announced a new program requiring students to get drug tested. Dean of Students Mark Granger believes this is a good way to help encourage students to make the right decision. "Our hope is to take these kids in the middle, and help them make the right choice," said Granger. "To empower all of our kids, to say no."
The new program is not the result of drug problems at the school, rather a proactive approach to encourage students to stay out of trouble. The decision was met with widespread support from parents. "I was very happy to hear about it, it's one more tool for my child to say no," said Vickie Parada.
"Sometimes they need some guidance and Xavier is the kind of school that would make the extra effort to help them," said Jennifer McCarron, who has two students that attend the school.
Xavier Prep will hire an outside contractor to administer the test, which uses a hair sample. Each test will cost about $50. Parents and teachers say, that's a small price to pay to keep their students safe. "The cost isn't what's important, it's putting a program in place that will help kids be safe, and make good choices," said Granger.
"I think it's a good use of the school's money, there'll be some cost to the parents too," said McCarron.
There will only be an expense to parents if their students test positive the first time around. If that happens, students face consequences from the school's handbook, but also must take a test every 100 days at their own expense. The first round of test will be administered to volunteer students in 100 days, because the hair sample test detects drug use up to 90 days.
"So they've got a 100 days to stop, start making good choices, clear out their system if they are making bad choices," said Granger.
Once fully implemented, 10 to 15% of the student population, picked at random, will be tested every 100 days. Also, to receive admission to the school, students must pass the test.