Ellwood scholarship students face drug testPublished 11:25pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Ellwood Christian Academy scholarship students were subjected to a random drug test just before school ended Wednesday.
The school tested all students above seventh grade who have a portion of their tuition paid by the school — a total of 60 students.
The school gave urine tests to ensure the Christian principles taught at Ellwood are carried home, CEO and chairman of the board Rev. Gary Crum said.
“We want to promote health and well-being of our student body, particularly in athletics,” he said. “Because we are a private Christian academy, we want to make sure our students are adhering to the Christian principles outside of the classroom.”
He said no student refused the test.
The drugs tests mark the first time Ellwood has checked students for drug use in its three-year history. Ellwood is also the first school in the area to give a drug tests, according to Dallas County Court Services director Miah Jackson.
The school requires each student with a scholarship to sign an agreement, which includes a drug testing policy. Ellwood employees provided a copy of its athletic scholarship agreement, which Crum said is similar to other scholarship agreements.
“Student will submit to random drug testing,” the agreement says. “A positive drug test will result in student reverting to full tuition or in expulsion.”
The school paid a total of $2,400 for the testing. Crum expects tests results by Friday and plans to refer any positive results to a behavior modification counselor. Ellwood is not planning to share any results with law enforcement, but will continue giving random tests to maintain a drug-free environment, Ellwood principal Darrell Walker said.
“Marijuana affects your ability to have sound judgment,” Walker said. “You cannot focus if you’re on drugs.”
A second offense would result in a temporary suspension. A third offense would result in expulsion, Crum said.
Scholarship students may not be the only ones required to submit to drug testing. Crum said future tests might include all students.
“Once you enroll, you consent,” Crum said. “We make it known to all our parents that we have a drug testing policy.”
Though Ellwood officials verbally notify parents and non-scholarship students, he said no official document is signed subjecting students whose families pay the entire cost of tuition to drug tests.
Planning for the tests began long before Wednesday. Jackson said the school approached her one year ago and called Tuesday to set a final date.
She said giving random drug tests is a way to prevent future drug use.
“It’s a good deterrent,” she said. “It might actually be good if all schools put a drug testing policy in place.”