One of three schools, St. Edward High School in Cleveland, is overseen by James Kubacki. His brother, Raymond Kubacki, is president and CEO of Psychemedics, a company that has claimed over $7 million in quarterly revenue. As an overseer of one of the schools, he has influence over the company’s general school policy.
Raymond Kubacki stated last year: “Our primary focus is workplace drug testing. Secondarily would be emerging markets, and one of those would be schools and colleges.”
The testing will affect about 980 students at St Edward High School, 340 at Gilmour Academy, and 1,500 or so at St. Ignatius. The hair testing kit costs $39-50 each, according to schools already working with Psychemedics.
No other schools in the area currently test students for drug use, and its effectiveness for reducing drug use is highly questionable.
K.C. McKenna, Vice President of Admissions and Marketing at St. Edward said;
“This came about as a proactive, preventative measure. There was nothing in our own community that necessarily prompted this. This is not a reactionary endeavor by any means… Our committee, which included members of our board of trustees, a member of our faculty and other members of our administration, looked at the issue as a whole and arrived at the Psychemedics decision. Certainly, Jim knew a little more about the process because of his brother being involved, but his brother being CEO of that company in no way led to us making the decision to use Psychemedics.”
McKenna said feedback from students and parents has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
School officials did not notify parents of any relationship between the school’s president and the CEO of Psychemedics.
Lisa Metro, spokeswoman for St. Ignatius, said “How we picked the company isn’t of interest to high school boys. They’re more interested in how it’s going to play out to them.” Although, this answer is highly unsatisfying and seems to avoid the issue.
The three schools issued a statement saying Psychemedics was chosen because it offered hair testing instead of urine, because follicle testing can show drug use up to 90 days earlier.
“We think it’s a positive move,” said Leigh Owen, whose two older children attend Gilmour.
Karen Perkowski, whose son will be a freshman at St. Edward’s supports the mandatory testing and said, “Anything you can do to combat this issue.”
An unidentified parent voiced their concerns and asks “Why, if there is a false positive, does the test have to be done by the same company? Why can’t it go to a neutral third party lab?”
St. Ignatius have created a video to show some of the student reactions to the drug testing announcement:
Mandatory, random drug-testing in public schools has been shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the private schools operate under its own set of rules.
However, girls softball players in Boardman volunteered to be the first to try out the drug testing process. The school will test student athletes and those who drive to school starting in the fall.
“These adolescent years are difficult for students. Their brains are being formed. It’s a time when they make mistakes, and we want to help them to make better decisions and not a fatal mistake,” said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.
The program is expected to cost taxpayers about $30,000. It is also interesting to consider what they will do with students who test positive, or abstain from testing?
What do you think? Is it a good idea to drug test school students?