In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Trinity High School President Robert Mullen announced the private Catholic high school would implement a program to randomly drug test students beginning next school year.
Mullen wrote that the school’s board voted unanimously in favor of the program, which will test students’ hair samples for alcohol and drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates such as heroin and codeine, methamphetamines, ecstasy and more. He wrote that the policy is modeled on one at Providence High School, a co-ed Catholic high school in Clarksville, and follows a national trend among other Catholic schools to drug test students.
“Our primary motive for adding this testing program is to empower our students with the ability to say: ‘I can’t. My school tests,'” Mullen wrote. “Our research tells us that this is an incredibly potent tool against peer pressure, and that both students and parents are grateful when it’s made available.”
In an FAQ also sent to parents, the school said a positive drug test would not be included in a student’s permanent record. The document said the student and his parent(s) would be required to meet with the principal or assistant principal upon a first positive test. If the student tested positive a second time, he would be expelled.
The school is partnering with Psychemedics Corporation, a national drug-testing firm, to process the tests.
Trinity officials were not available for comment Tuesday but are expected to address media on Wednesday. A meeting for parents is scheduled for Thursday, May 7 at 7 p.m.
Bethlehem High School in Bardstown is the only school in the 24-county Archdiocese of Louisville that currently drug tests students. The other seven high schools in the Archdiocese are Assumption, DeSales, Holy Cross, Mercy, Presentation, Sacred Heart and St. Xavier.
In a statement to IL Tuesday evening, spokeswoman Cecelia Price said the Archdiocese strongly supports Trinity’s decision.
“Trinity’s effort to provide students with the tool to say, ‘I can’t. My school tests’ is a powerful testament to the school’s concern about the well-being and health of students,” she said. “For Catholic secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, decisions about implementing drug and alcohol policies and related disciplinary measures are established at the local level with the input of the school’s appropriate consultative bodies, including its board of directors. Trinity has conducted a thorough process of research, consultation, and prayer as it established this policy.”
Jefferson County Public Schools does not drug test its students, spokeswoman Helene Kramer said Tuesday.
“We do random drug testing of employees, including bus drivers and other staff,” Kramer said.
This story has been updated.
See the letter to parents and FAQ below.