Trinity Testing Program Designed to Help Students, Save Lives

The decision to begin mandatory random drug and alcohol testing of students at Trinity High School this fall came after nearly five years of study, and is part of Trinity’s comprehensive health and well-being program. We see it as a valuable tool for our young men to combat peer pressure with the statement, “I can’t. My school tests.” We also believe it can save lives.

The overwhelming majority of the parents with whom we have discussed our program support it because it is aimed at helping their sons rather than focusing on punitive measures.

We recognize that students at every high school in America face tremendous pressure as they try to remain drug and alcohol free. We also know that the longer a young person abstains from drugs and alcohol, the less likely he is to become addicted later in life. The addition of mandatory testing to our health program at Trinity will help us identify students who may have a problem with drugs or alcohol so we can work with their parents to get them the help they need early in life. That is part of our mission to form men of faith and character.

How the program will work: On about a weekly basis during the school year, a computer will randomly pick the names of several students’ who will be required to provide a small hair sample to be sealed and sent for testing. The results will be available to Principal Dan Zoeller in about seven days; test results will never become a part of the student’s record at Trinity.

The test screens for a variety of drugs as well as binge drinking during the past 90 days.

When a test is negative, Principal Zoeller will inform the student and his parents, and his name will go back in the pool for future testing. If it’s positive, Mr. Zoeller will meet and share with the student and his parents a list of local resources the family will want to pursue. The student will be tested every 100 days thereafter.

If the student and his family are actively working to resolve the issue, a second positive test will not trigger automatic dismissal; rather, the student will undergo a drug and alcohol assessment by a school-approved professional. Again, with a goal of helping the student, he and his parents must agree to follow the plan created by the professional, and the student will continue to be tested every 100 days. He will be ineligible to participate in extra-curricular activities for 60 school days.  A third positive test can trigger dismissal unless the student is working closely with a professional and making progress.

We expect our experience with this new program will mirror that of a growing number of Catholic schools across the country that have found a low number of positive tests and rarely see a second positive. Our students have a strong history and tradition of rising to meet the high expectations we set at Trinity High School. VT

By DR. ROB MULLEN, Your Voice Contributor
President, Trinity High School