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NKY High School to Expand Drug Testing Program

Covington Catholic High School announced on Wednesday to staff, students, parents and the community that it will adopt an updated Drug and Alcohol Policy and Substance Abuse Prevention Program, effective with the 2016-17 school year. 

“We believe this policy and substance abuse prevention program reflect our commitment to the development of our young men in alignment with CovCath’s Mission (“to embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ in order to educate young men spiritually, academically, physically, and socially”) --  free from the destructive impacts of drugs," said principal Bob Rowe.

Key points of the updated policy include:

  • 100% of the student population will be tested at least once annually, and will be subject to additional random testing.
  • Parent and student agreement to the overall policy and student participation in the testing is mandatory for enrollment at Covington Catholic for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Counseling and substance abuse treatment will be required following a positive test result.
  • Possession or usage of controlled substances, including alcohol, by students on school property or when attending a school-sponsored activity, is not permitted.  Guidelines for disciplinary action for infractions are articulated in the policy.

“Covington Catholic is expanding drug-testing out of a deep concern for the health and well-being of its students," said Rowe. "We do not have evidence of widespread substance abuse among our student body. However, the alarming rise of drug use and addiction in the Northern Kentucky community at-large is well documented, and even one student at risk is one too many.

"Substance abuse often begins with casual drug and alcohol use during the teen years. Helping our students make good choices can save them from long-term problems related to abuse and addiction, and keep their futures on a bright and hopeful path. From a school perspective, students who are drug-free are proven to have better school attendance and alertness in class, better enabling their academic progress.”

This program, with technical and financial support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Medicount Management, and the Drug Free Clubs of America (DFCA), is intended to provide Covington Catholic students with an additional tool for deterrence, as well as tools to address usage with appropriate treatment if/when it occurs.  

“As a deterrent, this program gives our students five very powerful words: 'I can’t. My school tests.' High schools using a testing program hear from their students that having this “out” is a great tool for fighting peer pressure.” said Rick Flesch, CCH personal counselor and moderator of the drug testing program.  

Upon a positive test, the student and his parent(s) will be advised on community resources available to provide treatment and assistance. It is the intention to be supportive, versus punitive, at this stage. Importantly, it is an extension of the very positive partnership Covington Catholic High School has had with DFCA for nine years. The voluntary participation in CovCath’s DFCA program has included approximately 2/3 of the student population. DFCA will continue to support this program for 100% of Covington Catholic students with resources and positive reinforcement of drug-free lifestyles.

“I endorse and support the resolve and courage displayed by Mr. Rowe and the Covington Catholic High School community to foster a drug-free environment through a mandatory drug testing program," said Mike Clines, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Covington. "This program confirms Covington Catholic’s commitment to high expectations for student behavior and to help students make healthy choices. It also advances our efforts to intervene and help students who might be vulnerable to drug use and addiction."

- Staff report/Photo via Facebook