A high school in Kansas City, Missouri, has announced it will cut samples of students' hair to perform random drug testing.
Rockhurst High School will cut 60 strands of hair per student and test for drugs including marijuana and cocaine. If students test positive, parents will be informed and other interventions considered. The school will not involve the police, and records of the test will be destroyed and no information passed to future employers or colleges.
The hope is that testing will help change perceptions about drug-taking. "When you asked our students if everyone else is doing it, they said, 'Yes.' But, in fact, they weren't," said the school principal. "It's that perception I think among teenagers today that fuels the peer pressure...there's this idea that 'Everyone is doing it, so I guess I have to do it myself.'"
While the testing is perfectly legal, at $50 per drug test it's being called a "colossal waste of money" by the ACLU.
In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that schools could randomly drug test students. But since then various circuit and district courts have struck down mandatory, suspicionless drug testing in schools on the grounds that it violates 4th amendment rights concerning warrantless searches and seizures.