In August, St. Viator High School announced that they would begin testing students for alcohol consumption this year. The announcement from the private Catholic school drew support from some and criticism from others, including the ACLU.
Testing is reportedly underway at the school. Administrators say they will select 10-20 students at random each week for drug tests. Hair samples will be taken from the students and sent to ABC Chicago for analysis. The test results will reveal if a student has consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs in the past 90 days. St. Viator has tested for drugs since 2007, but this year is the first in which tests will screen for alcohol use as well.
"We're testing because we care about our kids. Alcohol is a threat to teenagers- their lives, their dreams, their hopes," St. Viator High School President Corey Brost said.
Chicago news station ABC 7 recently caught up with a few St. Viator students and asked their opinion on the controversial new program.
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"I think it's alright. I think it's random, so not everyone's going to be tested, and I think it's good to have in mind the students," student Jane Harris said.
In August, ACLU Illinois spokesman Ed Yohnka said he takes issue with the policy because parents, not schools, should be the ones monitoring a teenager’s behavior outside of school. Student Nadia Diclementi agrees with Yohnka.
"I just think it's more our parents' responsibility than our school's," Diclementi said.
The policy is the first of its kind in Illinois. While the ACLU is not a fan of the policy, they reiterated that as a private school, St. Viator is free to conduct the tests so long as parents approve.