Northland Pines High School gets proactive with drug prevention Submitted: 09/28/2016
Phylicia Ashley
Phylicia Ashley

Northland Pines High School gets proactive with drug prevention
EAGLE RIVER - After a year of revisions, Northland Pines High School will start a new policy in December: drug testing some of its students. 

The school board approved the new policy earlier this week.

For District Administrator Mike Richie, this is a way to stay proactive, helping both parents and students avoid drug addiction.

"If there is a problem, how we can prevent that problem? How can we get students to realize that this problem can only get worse as they get older and continue into the workforce?" said Richie. "I think we're going above and beyond, and I think that we need to help and assist parents. This is a problem that exists all over; it's not just a northern Wisconsin problem." 

To Richie, keeping kids off drugs is a collaborative effort. Students will only be put into the pool to be randomly tested if they and their parents both opt into the policy and sign the permission form. Forms for parents and students to opt into the policy will be sent out within the next couple of weeks.

"I think we have to work together," Richie said. "The school districts have to work with law enforcement and the community and reach out to these families. If we all work together, I think we can solve the problem."

The school is responsible for the cost of each test, which totals $30 apiece. 

The policy will be in place for high schoolers for the 2016-2017 school year. Beginning in 2017, the policy will include middle school students starting in 7th grade. If a student tests positive, only his or her parents will be notified, not law enforcement. That policy aims to ensure that the school and the family can work together to prevent students from using drugs. 

"We want to get the word out that there is a problem in society," said Richie. "If we can be part of the solution, I give our school board and our district a lot of credit for taking that step and moving forward. Not many districts would do this."

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