A Nebraska school district will start randomly testing students involved in extracurricular activities for nicotine, according to several media reports.
The New York Times reports Fairbury Public Schools’ move comes amid an increase in the use of e-cigarettes.
“Vaping and smoking in our view is reaching epidemic proportions,” Fairbury Superintendent Stephen Grizzle told the Lincoln Journal Star. “It’s just a way we can deter kids from potentially being addicted to nicotine. Since smoking and using vaping products are against our policies, it makes sense to include that.”
Grizzle estimated 60 percent of junior-senior high school students in the district participate in after-school activities. The students must agree to random testing for illegal or performance-enhancing drugs before joining extracurricular groups. The new policy adds nicotine to those tests.
Once a month, a computer will randomly select up to 25 students for drug testing. The district will administer the test through a urine sample collected by the school nurse.
Fairbury’s policy includes a list of consequences depending on the number of offenses. It starts with having to sit out 10 days and complete education requirements, the Lincoln Star Journal reported.
Vaping in schools is a popular nationwide trend the Food and Drug Administration calls an epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 3.6 million middle and high school students vaped in 2018.
Fairbury is one of several school districts in Nebraska that require random drug testing for students who want to participate in extracurricular activities. However, it is one of the first to include nicotine in its testing. The new nicotine policy spans from athletics to Future Business Leaders of America to marching band.
The Fairbury district is about 50 miles southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska.
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