Updated: 01/16/2014 4:24 PM
Created: 01/15/2014 4:50 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Drug use is a problem in schools everywhere, but the Duluth School District could become one of the first in the state to address the problem with random drug tests for students.
Administrators said they are only researching the idea, but it has been working in the Superior schools for years. But will parents accept the change?
“As a parent, I'm okay with it if it's going to curb the drug problem in high schools then I say, 'Go for it,'”Deb Johnson said.
Johnson is president of the Duluth East Parent-Teacher-Student Association. She said other parents in the association support the idea, but random drug tests are a hot topic.
“I think anything new there's going to be some resistance. So I think there will be some resistance if they do put it into place,” Johnson said.
Duluth administrators said taking part in certain extra-curricular activities would make students eligible for testing. Examples include sports, but also things like students obtaining a parking permit for the school. On top of that students and on of their parents would have to consent to the tests.
Climate Coordinator Ron Lake said the system is working in Superior. “Superior High School over across in Wisconsin, they've been doing randomized suspicionless drug testing for about seven years and from their reports they're saying it works well,” Lake said.
It works because students don't want to risk losing privileges according to Denfeld Activities Director Tom Pearson.
“It's a positive peer pressure for a student to say, 'I'm not going to partake because I don't want to lose this privilege,' or the ability to play hockey, or be in the speech program, or any of those types of activities,” Pearson said.
And the district disciplined students for 64 illegal drug incidents in the 2012-2013 school year. The proposed tests can screen for a range of drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine. Some students want to see the problem addressed with the random drug tests.
“I think they should do it because some people think they can do just whatever they want, whenever they want,” Denfeld Sophomore Triston Gibby-Wells said.
School officials said it would cost about $5,000 a year per school to test four students every week. Those officials stressed this is only a proposal and students and parents would be involved if it moves forward. No testing would be implemented until the fall of 2015 at the earliest.
Wisconsin DNR Assessing Winter Deer Kill
Wisconsin wildlife officials are using road-kill and radio-tracking data to assess the harsh winter's effect on the state's deer herd. Department of Natural Resources staffers are looking for 10 carcasses in every county so they can check a number of biological signs, such as fat stores and pregnancy. They're also is closely watching survival rates of more than 200 deer with radio collars in the northern forest and eastern farmland areas of the state.
Minnesota Runners Head to Boston in Unity, Tribute
More than 600 Minnesota marathoners will line up for the start of the Boston Marathon this year, including 212 who ran last year and say they're going back to finish what they started.
General Mills Backtracks on Controversial New Policy, Issues Apology
General Mills has issued an apology to consumers after the company caught major flack over its policy change that could have affected their arbitration rights.
Fitger's 5K Raises $20K For Young Athletes
It may not have felt much like spring today, but thousands signed-up to voluntarily run outside. It was the 25th Annual Fitger's 5K this morning and that means racing season in the Northland has officially started. This year, the race raised $20,000 for the Young Athletes Foundation.
Wis. OWI Fines Hefty, but Deterrence Effect Debated
The fine for a first drunken-driving offense, including court costs and surcharges, can be as high as $1,000. But industry experts are questioning whether heavy fines serve as effective enough deterrents.