Parents Petition for Random Drug Testing for Students

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.

37 comments

  • if only you knew

    If only everyone knew what one of the mothers who has plenty of comments about it effecting her family. This concerned mother kicked her son out of the house instead of helping him. She was more concerned about hee kids not doing drugs.

  • John

    I really think putting a price in how much a drug test will cost for one of our loved one shouldn’t be of concern because our children are priceless.. as parents you just have to work out a solution with the schools that can work for every one. on a price and who you would like tested.. my opinion is just that

  • Pauly

    Good initiative, bad judgment. Let’s leave it to the teachers and parents to educate these children. Parents, with all do respect maybe if you spend a little more time with your child you will realize something is not right. Wasting tax payers dollars is not the solution. If a kid is going to do drugs he’s going to do drugs. All we can do is show how selfish it is and how it ruins not only his/her life but others around them.

  • Charly Lucky

    Why stop at students? As soon as the parent steps foot on school property, if they drove their car there, TEST THEM TOO. If they came to watch their son or daughter in a after school activity, test them. Why not test the teachers too?? Why do our rights fly out the car window when we are on school property??? Every night you turn on the news, it’s another teacher having sex with students, test them for STDs, why not? The school board should be tested too, or are they like congress,”do as I say, not as I do”, good for the goose? Test the person giving the test too. and test them first thing in the morning, before they test anyone else, they go first. WARRANT, can anyone say it? WARRANT! You want to test anyone, get a warrant. These are students/people. not school lockers, WAKE UP PEOPLE.

  • William DeFazio

    If they were honestly doing this for the child’s good and would keep it confidential between the parents and school it would be one thing. this is just an excuse to penalize more kids. I think the parents have the kids welfare in mind, but the school certainly does not!
    Notice the parents are all for it though? This is how the powers that be fool people into thinking things are in their interest! Just wait till it is implemented and see how these same parents are outraged when kids for cash North Pocono starts!

  • Law abiding taxpayer

    Wrong James, a lot of people knew that the ones who died were on drugs/had problem with drugs. It was no secret. Let’s be honest here, It’s totally unconstitutional, an invasion of your rights and should in no way be the burden of the tax payers. Concerned parents, TEST YOUR OWN KIDS!! You guys are out of your mind if you think the school board will go along with this. And because one is not “for” this doesn’t mean “they must be the one on drugs”. People need to wake up here. Everyone knows ALCOLHOL is the real gateway drug, not pot for crying out loud. What are you going to do when marijuana is legal? We are just years away from this becoming a reality. People want to help, start with asking the school district why they did away with sex/drug ed.? Don’t test a kid who’s driving to school playing sports. Isn’t that what we want out kids to be doing instead of being in the street? Wrong way to start a program if ask me. Ridiculous!!

  • junior

    Whatever happened to letting people take responsibilities for their own actions. It sounds like some of the commentors have nothing else to do then to worry about other peolple’s problems. Live your life and mind your busness. Survival of the fittest. Its called population control

    • Vin D

      Looking at the bigger picture though, do you think that we can continue as a species if we just keep our side of the street clean? It is true you need to worry about yourself, but in our ever changing society, it is important to worry about others as we worry about ourselves. Survival of the fittest works if quality of life isn’t an issue.

  • Vin D

    This is an interesting quandary. Going into the previous court case Chandler V. Miller the state of Georgia had a statute that required all elected officials to submit to a urinalysis.

    This was ruled unconstitutional; the Court noted that while the Fourth Amendment generally prohibits officials from conducting search and seizures without individualized suspicion, there does exist a narrowly defined category of permissible suspicion less searches and seizures. The Court held, however, that Georgia’s statute did not fall in this exceptional category, since it failed to show why its desire to avoid drug users in its high political offices should outweigh candidates’ privacy interests.

    However; in another case, the exact opposite was ruled…and the subjects of the drug tests were none other than students. The case of Vernonia School District V. Acton was the case. All students in extracurricular activities had to submit.

    This was ruled constitutional; The reasonableness of a search is judged by “balancing the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests against the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.” In the case of high school athletes who are under State supervision during school hours, they are subject to greater control than over free adults.

    The problem I see with this is that our “rights” are only rights sometimes, and that makes them privileges. We are all supposed to have the right to privacy and this is an example of how depending on your social/economic/age status, this will determine how the rights are applied to you.

    Students are citizens just the same as anyone else, and suspicion less drug testing is not going to fix the problem. I personally believe that parents should take this to the courts, privacy is important even if “you don’t have anything to hide”. With great power comes great responsibility, and I believe this is an excessive use of power over the general population.

  • Student at NP

    If parents are so concerned about children being on drugs, then they should drug test them themselves. Not everyone can be helped and most athletes will end up being kicked off the team. Would you rather students try it now and get it out of their systems or go to college and go crazy?

      • Student at NP

        I appreciate your sarcasm, but seriously. In college students will be on their own and left to be influenced by other kids. Maybe if they’re doing drugs in the first place, it’s their upbringing that’s causing the problems. 2 kids at my brothers college in Philly overdosed within 3 weeks of eachother. The two boys that died in this area had already graduated high school as well. Yes, idrug testing now may stop kids during high school, but it won’t stop them once graduation passes.

    • NP Graduate

      Your theory is invalid. All students that have lost their lives recently were known drug a users from the start of high school. Trying it sooner doesn’t make it wear off sooner or make it less likely to stop as they get older. Aside from the drug testing being constitutional or a violation of privacy and rights, the idea of trying things at a younger age to prevent people from “going crazy” later in life is absurd. The community needs to be better informed. I know for a fact that in all of my time at North Pocono, I was never informed in detail of drugs, drug abuse or any sort of addictions in detail. I learned from my own personal experiences with family members.

  • Wake Up!

    While the policy at Delaware Valley School District was suspended and the injunction in place, Delaware Valley School District had the SMALLEST NUMBER of suspected drug and alcohol incidents for any of the years recorded occurred 2011-2012 school year. Also when dogs where brought into the middle and high school on November 17, 2012, no drugs where found. The dog hit on 5 lockers, 2 were empty and did not belong to anyone and 3 remaining lockers were searched and no drugs were found. Since the injunction, the number of drug incidences at DVSD declined! There were higher incidences when the policy was in place! Drug testing the least likely population of students, those involved in extracurricular activities is unconstitutional.

    If you have nothing to hide, a drug test should be no big deal.” This is
    what is said to students to get them to easily comply. It’s an easy way to
    get students to surrender their rights without them even knowing it.
    Students then repeat this saying to other non-conforming students.
    Students do not take into consideration the underlying fact that random
    drug tests are a violation of their right to privacy. Every person has a
    4th amendment right even on school grounds, students have a right to
    privacy. You are suppose to be innocent until proven guilty in this
    country, not the other way around. Students do not have a choice at DVSD -they have to choose between their constitutional rights and participating in activities. “If you have nothing to hide, give up your constitutional rights!” This is not a principle, that we should be teaching our children.Those “with nothing to hide” have constitutional rights! Teach them that hey have rights, so they know to defend them!

  • me

    Now its time to drug test all the scum bags on welfare and access cards. They turn a positive hit (outside of legal medications) take it off of them and save the tax payers thirty cents on each dollar from funding all the Obama bottom feeders!!

  • jeannette mendoza

    This is an extremely double edge sword which sends red flags up in my mind and heart. Tragic for a child to die from any cause no doubt. Tragic if friends knew of drug use and abuse.
    I think the consequences need to be discussed as well. I saw the news highlight and came to read the article to learn more details but apparently there is more research and details to be discussed. I for one want to know once a student tests positive what steps, intervention and action will be taken. Furthermore, will his school record reflect and create a police record which will effect the rest of his/her life from this random testing which in essence is voluntary?
    I d as well

  • Concerned

    Finally….people are acknowledging there is an issue in your beloved North Pocono. I’m so sick of them wiping everything under the carpet and hiding that there is a serious issue. There have been a handful of overdoses in the past couple of months and there was no mention of anything at all in the news. Everyone thinks North Pocono is the greatest school, but trust me, they have the same issues that every other school does. It’s time they stop worrying about their “image” and start worrying about their kids for a change

  • Liana

    To all who are commenting: I attending the meeting last night to gain information on the ideas of all who attended. First, let me say, that everyone has good intentions for “our students”. No one has all the answers. We do however recognize that there is a significant drug problem, not only in our community but everywhere. It affects us all. You can sit back and deny it all if you like or choose not to act on it, thats your choice,this is America. There are some who would like to get involved and begin the process of preventing if we can future addiction from taking place so “our children” can have choices and “options” instead of turning to drugs to fill their voids. I agree, parents need to be responsible and parent their children. Teachers need to educate. But according to the letters from the students that were written, that is not happening. These kids have no where to go for help. The students are speaking and as a community, we need to listen. I did not sign the petition just becasue I was at the meeting. I am not in agreement with everything but I do know I was able to voice my opinion feely. As could all of you. There will be another meeting in two weeks and I urge all to attend. Im not sure if the NPSD should be responsible either for testing the students but I do know I want to be available to help out in some way to help my own children and any one elses who might just need someone to turn to instead of a needle!! It might just save their life.

    • Sundown

      I am with you 110%, especially when drug tests for the “fab-four,” Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, and Methamphetamines cost 40$ at the store, however, some prescribed psych drugs might come up a false positive, particularly for the methamphetamine, which most ADHD drugs happen to be. At least it’s a positive initiative, and not like some parents perhaps more interested in protecting their own privacy rather than help their kid!

    • John

      This is the problem when any one gets an over the counter product for drug testing it can give false test results if there taking any type of prescriptions… here at 911 testing what we do is we give a 5 min result test ,if its positive we send it to a certified laboratory for drug testing and an experienced Medical Review Officer (MRO) to interpret ALL drug screening test results. Both the lab and the MRO are located in the USA.. so if its negative or positive the results will be 100% correct.. I really think its up to the parents to decide how they would like their kids to be tested.. just remember that our children are the most important thing in our live… bless you all and I hope that you find a solution.

  • Linda Hannah

    I agree on the fact that a lot of children are doing drugs. I do not agree that the schools do this random testing. I do agree that these are fair requirements for extracurricular and driving privileges. If that is what the parents really want, have it included in the physical needed for these activities. If you are really concerned, when your child goes in for their annual physical, request a drug screening could be done. Your health insurance pays for this. Parents, this is your responsibility. As you can see. there are many avenues you can take for this “random testing.”

    Yes, I do have children and grandchildren, and I do love and care about them. We have discussions on this and they lost friends to overdoses and alcohol. Through our discussions, we firmly agree on the above statement.

  • James

    You people are so self centered. If you cared at all about the children who died from an overdose, you’d want to save anyone else’s lives no matter the expense. The fact is, the drug usage in this area is affecting everyone negatively and in the last two months have only been getting worse. Maybe it wasn’t your child or someone close to you. But think that if it was your child and you didn’t even know they were doing drugs, how would you be able to get them help if you did not even know. This is why it is important for them to pass this and get the school to do drug testing, to save other peoples lives. North Pocono does not need to cut classes because of this. They are in an area where there are a lot of people who pay taxes. That is not a worry. But the fact that you people, right here, are so ignorant that you would let another child die because their parents did not even know that their child was using until they find out after they are dead. No drug user is open about their problem. It is up to everyone in the community to pitch in and try to put a stop to something. I feel that the people who have a problem with this are the people who potentially use drugs themselves. But it is only fair that if they want to do an extracurricular activity or drive to school, then they should be tested and it should be proved that they deserve something like that.

    • Not paying

      It is the parents job to KNOW if their kids are using. I am tired of having to shoulder others responsibility with my hard work. There is already plenty of resources and help for parents to get their kids help. Being involved in your kids lives takes hard work. No drug test is going to stop this problem. Kids know how to get around these things. And they will keep on doing it. Its not my job to care for their kids too. The school budget is already tight and I guarantee things will get cut to cover these costs or our tax dollars will go up. Take care of your own kids the way you should. We can not go around trying to regulate and cover for everything. People need to have their own self-government and train their kids to have the same at some point. Kids get plenty of education that drugs are bad and so do parents. Now it is time to own up and do your job, period. In every case of drug use in my family it has been from a lack of parenting and training. Yes, it hurts others. Yes, it destroys families. Yes, it is a terrible thing. That is why you train your kids. That is why your involved and up their butt. I am not my kids friend I am their guardian.

      • Who are we kidding

        If your child is out of your sight for any amount of time, he or she could be doing drugs. If your child is ever alone with his or her friends, he or she could try drugs. You’re kidding yourself if you think the best and most involved parents in the world couldn’t have a child with a drug addiction. You don’t and can’t know everything and either you’re not a parent or you’re kidding yourself if you think anyone is capable of knowing everything their kid does. And even if you are a good parent or you choose to dry test your own kid, the person they sit next to in class go has terrible parents who don’t care (and yelling about being sick of these people isn’t going to change them) could give your perfect child drugs one time and they could OD. Then you’d wish the kid with bad parents had been drug tested. It’s not about who is a good parent or not, it’s about saving YOUR kid’s life, not someone else’s kid. YOUR kid.

    • Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

      No James, some of the people who have problem with this are sick of handing more of their responsibilities over to a corrupt government system. Mark my words…this will not stop the drug use, and it won’t stop the overdoses. Maybe if people weren’t such irresponsible parents, they would know what their kids were up to. Drug addiction is usually pretty easy to spot. That is, if you actually pay attention to your kids, and don’t expect the government to do it for you. You are being reactionary, and you fail to use logic.

      • James

        It’s funny that you all say you do not want to fund it and it’s the parents’ responsibility when in all actuality that if a child wants to do drugs and is afraid of getting caught, they will hide it. Children and young adults have much greater ways of hiding drugs and drug problems. You think that people are just open about their drug addictions? I know for a fact that many people did not know that the people who have died from overdoses were even on drugs. Drug testing should be brought into schools, it does not matter if there are hard core facts. If your child is not doing them, then good for them. But maybe your child has a friend who does do drugs and you had absolutely no idea about it. When children die from overdoses, the community should not turn their shoulder to it and blame the parents. They should come together and do whatever they can to stop things like this from happening to other young people. It should not matter whether or not your child does it. For all you know, they could be doing it. And you as a parent should be the ones to protect your own children from drugs and drug abuse. I agree that the schools should not get involved in personal things such as getting drug tests, but a lot of young adults develop drug problems in high school. The three people who have died recently from the overdoses have graduated high school within the last few years. They also remained in the area where there are clearly people who do not care about the drug problems they may have had. Whether you are the parent of someone or not, we should all come together to make sure something as devastating as this does not happen again for a long time.

  • gfl ne

    Since it is the PARENTS that want this, maybe they should take their kids to the lab and get them tested at THEIR expense instead of having the school test THEIR kids at the taxpayers expense. Have the student athletes or those who drive prove monthly at the PARENTS expense that they are clean. Schools are there to educate, not parent your children.

    • Not paying

      I totally agree. What are these parents going to say when we cut another program, class, sport, etc to pay for all this random testing? What age are you going to start this? Most kids have their first joint in late elementary and early middle school. Usually way too late by high school.

    • jeannette

      There is no clear concise solution however some parents learned through the drug testing that unbeknownst to them their child experimented! The schools have monies to allocate and saving one life is priceless. How many children are peer pressured or having growing pains thinking just once won’t hurt. ?. That once becomes two, three or more times and is driving impaired really do you want to be the next victim.

      • Law abiding taxpayer

        You think the school district has tens of thousands of dollars for this? Let’s do some quick numbers here. There’s probably hundred maybe two hundred kids who would fall into this category(if not more). At $20-$30 a test, multiple times a year? I’m almost positive the SD won’t go this route. Maybe parents just need to be more involved. Pay attention to your kids, their friends, their routine, but don’t start testing kids playing sports doing the right thing, at our expense. Why not test all kids then. Why the ones driving? These kids that died didn’t cause car accidents. This is wrong in so many levels. I think people are just shooting into a barrel hoping to hit something without really thinking it through.

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