EDMOND, Okla. - Edmond Public Schools are beefing up their drug testing policy this year, and school officials say it's just a coincidence that it's lining up with the passage of SQ 788 legalizing medicinal marijuana.
The school system is essentially doubling the number of students that will be randomly drug tested. Even though that decision came alongside a discussion amongst the school board and administrators on concerns about SQ 788, the superintendent, Bret Towne, said it isn't related.
Edmond Public Schools have been subjecting the more than 3,000 students who take part in extracurricular activities for the past six years. At a school board meeting on Monday, the decision on whether to renew the contract with the drug testing company came up. Two years ago, school funding was cut, so the school board cut the number of students who would be tested to save money. On Monday they made the decision to return to the full number of students they're legally allowed to test.
"It just does seem coincidental that it was with the passage of 788," Towne said. However he did voice concerns he has about medical marijuana, concerns that are felt by parents as well. "My concern is how it’s going to effect students on campus and the availability," Towne said. "We always worry about students having easier access to it."
As for a school policy for SQ 788, Towne said they haven't discussed it yet. He said they're waiting for the Oklahoma Department of Health to release its rules, then they'll discuss it with state school board officials and re-consider their existing policy on prescription drugs. Currently at Edmond Public Schools, prescription drugs are locked up and dispensed by the school secretary. So will it be the same with medical marijuana?
"I have no idea," Towne said. "It’s a little bit different situation."