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drug testing

School Districts Double Down On Drug Testing, Targeting Even Middle Schoolers

Sep 5, 2019
Chris Neal / for the Kansas News Service

FORT SCOTT, Kansas — Thirteen-year-old Aura Brillhart and her 11-year-old sister, Morgan, will face a new sort of test in school this year: a drug test.

The middle and high schools in their community of Fort Scott, Kansas, are among the latest to require random drug testing of students who want to participate in sports, clubs, dances or any other extracurricular activities.

“I hate that it’s even an issue for us to have to address,” said their mom, Jody Hoener. “But putting our heads in the sand isn’t going to make things any better.”

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill into law that allows drug testing for people receiving some  types of state assistance or unemployment payments.

People receiving certain assistance payments could be tested if there’s suspicion they’re using drugs. If they test positive, they would have to complete drug treatment and job training. If they don’t comply, they lose benefits. A second positive test would mean losing benefits for at least a year. Governor Brownback says the goal of the bill is fighting drug use in Kansas.

A bill that would require drug testing for some welfare and unemployment benefit recipients passed the Kansas Senate Thursday. It would require drug tests for some people enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if they are suspected of drug use.

Senator Jeff King, an Independence Republican, says the goal of the bill is to help Kansans who have drug problems.

Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley tried  to add a provision that would also administer drug tests to business owners who receive economic development funds from the state.