We have created this page to answer typical questions about Bishop Fenwick High School’s Substance Use Prevention and Intervention Program. This document, however, does not amend or change any actual policies that will be found in the Parent/Student Handbook. In the event of any confusion, that document takes precedence. All of the processes described herein are subject to change.
Our decision to implement a drug testing as part of our Substance Use Prevention and Intervention Program stems from a deep concern for their health and welfare and a strong desire to educate them against potentially self-destructive behavior. Such testing will arm students with an acceptable “out” to resist peer pressure to use drugs. Study after study reveals that the longer a young person avoids even casual substance use, the less likely it is that he or she will face use and abuse problems later in life. Our culture sends very mixed messages to youth about drugs, particularly marijuana and alcohol. This program’s primary objective is to underscore the harmful effects of substance use on teenagers and to prevent use among Fenwick Students.
The goal is to first prevent substance use and then to identify problems privately and proactively, in partnership with parents. The goal is wellness for Fenwick students.
America has a drug problem, and its effects are felt on all school campuses—public, private, and parochial. A 2017 survey of Fenwick students shows that the majority of our students make healthy choices and do not have problems with alcohol or other drugs; nevertheless, the survey does indicate experimentation and, in some cases, consistent use. Even a small percentage of users is too many! Knowing the immediate and long-term effects of substance use and abuse on learning, adolescent brain development, and health and safety overall, as well as the detrimental effects on student morale generally, Fenwick has taken this step to minimize experimentation and use as much as possible. Many schools have moved to drug testing students in the wake of a student tragedy. We are fortunately positioned to take this step from a preventative, not reactive, posture.
The new Substance Use Prevention and Intervention Program will go into effect with the 2018-19 school year. All Fenwick students during the 2018-19 school year will be part of mandatory testing and then placed in a pool for random draw, with results shared exclusively with the family via the PRO Program. Fenwick administrators will neither receive nor have access to these student-specific results, but the school will receive aggregate drug-use information.
Starting with the 2019-20 school year, all NEW students (freshmen or transfers) will go through the program as stated above—mandatory testing followed by random testing, with results shared exclusively with the parents. All returning students will now be part of the random testing program, with random testing conducted monthly throughout the school year. Starting in 2019-20, the results for all returning students will be shared with Fenwick administration.
2019-20 and beyond: All NEW students will be tested at least one time. ALL students, new and returning, may be pulled in a random draw for testing throughout the year
Using student-identification numbers from our computer system, Psychemedics will randomly select students for testing. Fenwick personnel will not be involved in this random selection process. To keep the process entirely random, students will be placed back in the random draw each month.
After a positive test is reported to Fenwick, the student will be removed from the random testing as they will be required to get regular testing every 90-100 days.
Fenwick does maintain the right to request testing of a student, outside of the random draw, at any time based on suspicion of activity.
This program is designed for prevention and intervention. The program is not designed to be punitive. For this reason, the first year of testing for any student will have results sent exclusively to the family. In subsequent years, a positive test will result in a “strike” for the student.
1st Strike: Rely on the family to intervene, with assistance from the school as requested
2nd Strike: The Assistant Principal will get involved, requiring counseling programs, taking disciplinary action, and instituting eligibility restrictions.
3rd Strike: Indicates that Fenwick is unable to meet the student’s health-and-wellness needs. The student will be withdrawn from Fenwick. The permanent record will indicate this withdrawal, but not the disciplinary infraction.
Will college counselors, other Fenwick staff (including coaches), or authorities be notified of a positive test result?
No. All information regarding a student’s positive result will be strictly limited to the Principal, Assistant Principal and the student’s counselor. As they seek support and help following a positive drug test, the student’s parents may share this information with any Fenwick employee of their choosing. The school will not initiate this communication, however.
Some prescribed medications, especially forms of painkillers, will cause a positive result. In the event of such a positive result, Psychemedic will contact the parents within 48 hours of receiving the results, requesting a copy of the prescription or of the medication bottle, along with the prescribing doctor’s contact information, to confirm the legitimacy of the prescription. Once confirmed, the test will be considered negative, Fenwick will not be notified, and no other action will be necessary. If the student does not have a legitimate prescription, the positive result will be reported.
Positive results are automatically subject to retesting at Psychemedics before final confirmation and reporting of the results to the school. If a family believes the test to be a false-positive, they may request a second test be taken within three days. This will be at the family’s expense. All tests are conducted by Psychemedics, no exceptions.
Trained Fenwick staff members will collect a small snip of hair from each student. The amount of hair (taken near the base) needed for testing is equal to the diameter of lead inside a pencil. If a student has too little hair to be taken from the head, hair will be taken from the armpits, legs, or arms. The samples will be labeled by number and sent to a lab for analysis. Test results are returned within two weeks (to STR for the PRO Program or the school), and the test numbers are then correlated with student names. If a student tests negative for drugs, no specific notification will be made to the parents or the student.
No. Standard hair products will not significantly affect the results.
Bishop Fenwick has contracted with Pyschemedics Corporation and Secure Test Results (STR) to implement this program. Psychemedics is the world’s leading and largest hair analysis drug testing company and is used for drug screening in hundreds of schools and colleges, as well as over 10% of the Fortune 500 companies, major police departments, and other public entities. More information can be found at www.psychemedics.com. Secure Test Results (STR) will work with the school to run the PRO Program. The Parent Results Only (PRO) Program provides to schools the opportunity to implement testing and have results sent to the parents only and not to the school. This program provides parents with an opportunity to address any issues identified in the testing without school involvement.
Hair testing offers the widest detection window compared to other methods that analyze bodily fluids like saliva or urine. Psychemedics hair analysis can detect use over the previous 90 days for the following drugs: Cocaine, marijuana, opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone), methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), phencyclidine (PCP), and CBD.
No. The 4th Amendment addresses unreasonable searches of citizens by a government or an agent of the government. Fenwick is not acting as either and is, therefore, exempt from the prohibitions. In addition, Fenwick students attend the school as a privilege, and not as an entitlement, and do so pursuant to an enrollment contract under which Fenwick is entitled to pursue a drug-testing initiative.
The school’s operating budget will cover the expenses for this testing program; parents will not be billed! After a positive test result, however, all costs and expenses of the substance use intervention will be the responsibility and obligation of the student’s parents and will not be paid for by Fenwick. Additionally, if the parent opts to have the alcohol testing included in the analysis, this additional cost will be covered by the family.
The testing agency, Psychemedics, which never receives student names, holds positive samples for five years. No documentation pertaining to student screening results will be made part of permanent records. Fenwick will destroy names, numbers, and results related to the testing program during the summer after students graduate.
The purpose of this plan is prevention and intervention. For this reason, Fenwick encourages students who are already experimenting or using substances to come forward and seek help. If he/she comes forth at least 24 hours prior to when they are scheduled for testing, Fenwick will require the student to be tested and seek counseling. This will not count as a strike to the student, however the student will remain in the pool for random draw and if he/she is drawn and tests positive it WILL count as a strike.
Substance use and abuse education has always been a part of the Fenwick curriculum. Education efforts target students and parents throughout their time at Fenwick. In regards to student education, social-emotional development is taken into consideration. Beginning in ninth grade, overall health and healthy decision-making are addressed in health, physical-education and biology classes. Additional programs, sometimes grade specific, focus on healthy decision-making as it relates to safe driving and substance use as well as staying mentally healthy. Faculty also participate in professional development in order to stay informed on current trends and also to facilitate meaningful conversations surrounding substance use with students.
Fenwick has, and will continue to have, a strong relationship with the Middletown Police Department. Part of this relationship includes MPD officers, and surrounding departments, to bring dogs to campus multiple times throughout the year to do sweeps of the building and campus for drugs.
As we introduce this new Substance Use Prevention and Intervention Program, we are reexamining our entire continuum of substance use education to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students, faculty, and community.
If you are interested in learning more about teen drug use and abuse and its dangers, here are some websites and articles you may wish to explore:
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Partnership for Drug Free Kids
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
FCD Prevention Works
US Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens
“Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities”
High school users and addiction
“This is Your Brain on Drugs”
“7 Ways Marijuana May Effect the Brain” .