By Mary O’KEEFE
Parents of Crescenta Valley High School students will be receiving a letter from Principal Linda Evans regarding a new volunteer drug testing program for students.
“We sent out a letter explaining the program along with a permission form,” Evans said.
The program is in response to the increased drug use in Crescenta Valley. There have been 24 CVHS students expelled and 57 suspended in the last two years, according to a PowerPoint presentation by Glendale Police Chief Ron DePompa.
“One major concern for parents and educators is the use of drugs and alcohol among our adolescent population,” read the letter.
The program is completely voluntary and the results will not be shared with law enforcement, Evans said.
Parents can sign their children up for the random urine drug test. Individual student results will be not be returned to the school. Students signed up for the program are randomly chosen to be tested. Only their parent/guardian will be informed of the result of that test.
“While a positive test result may be difficult for both the parents and student to handle, the alternative is worse,” the letter continued.
Whether the student participates in the program or not, Evans said this will give parents an opportunity to discuss drugs with their child.
“Most importantly this letter is going home to every family. Every family is going to have some type of conversation with their child,” Evans said.
The other opportunity this program provides is a way out for children to say “no” when offered a substance.
“A student who is approached by someone offering drugs or who is in a situation they find difficult can use the testing as an excuse. They can say they can’t do drugs because their parent has signed them up for this program and they don’t know when they may be called to test,” Evans added.
The program has been active in San Clemente for several years. Surveys at that participating school have found that 33% of the kids have said they have used the program to say no when friends have offered drugs. About 46% in that same survey reported it was easier not to use drugs because of their involvement and 61% of the students said the program should continue, Evans said.
“This is telling me the program [has advantages]. I don’t think our students are much different from San Clemente,” she said.
Parents who have questions about the volunteer program or who did not receive a letter can contact Peter Kim at the school, (818) 249-5871, ext. 6157 or can contact the student’s counselor.
The forms are due by April 2.