COVINGTON TOWNSHIP — Concerned parents in one Lackawanna County school district held a meeting on Sunday night to discuss allowing random drug testing of student drivers and student athletes.
Parents said they got the idea from the Delaware Valley School District.
Just a few weeks ago, a Pike County judge ruled that drug testing for student athletes and drivers is constitutional.
That was the spark North Pocono School District parents needed to start a petition for the same proposal, a petition that has more than 400 signatures.
Parents and community members gathered in Daleville to talk about, what they say, is a drug problem.
“I never thought that, you know, it would happen to our family but it did. So, this is just extremely important to me, and it’s a personal thing for us,” said Marijo Costello, a mother in the area.
Costello has seven children, one of whom has overcome a drug addiction.
She said other families in the area are still struggling, adding that three people have died in the past two months because of drug problems.
“I have a son who went to a viewing on Thursday for one of his friends that passed away from an overdose that went to North Pocono,” said Costello.
“Personally, I’ve been affected by five right here in this area,” said Billy Tregl, a North Pocono graduate.
“I have an older son who was friends with some of the students who passed away and I have a younger son who’s 14 and hears about this stuff everyday,” said Guiseppe Ianni.
That’s why Ianni and his wife started a petition to bring random drug testing to students in the North Pocono district.
“If this helps one student or one person from using drugs, whether it’s one time in their life or from picking it up all together, you can’t give me one good reason why it’s not a good idea,” said Ianni.
Currently, the petition states that student athletes and kids who drive to school would be randomly tested, similar to the Delaware Valley proposal.
But people in the community say more has to be done.
“The big problem is the lack of education, the lack of knowledge, not just students, but parents and teachers in general,” said Tregl.
“This is a good start, but it’s just a start is what it is,” added Costello.
Parents said they’re next step is to take their petition to the North Pocono school board meeting on Wednesday.
They said they have not worked out all the kinks yet, but are planning more meetings to finalize the proposal.
Police were not able to return calls about teenage drug overdose statistics in that area on Sunday evening.