Gov't Pushes For Random Drug Testing

Federal Grants Available

Federal officials were in San Diego on Wednesday to discuss with parents and educators federal funding for random drug testing in schools.

Included in President George W. Bush's proposed 2007 budget released this month is $15 million set aside for random student drug testing, similar to screening recently started in two local districts.

Schools that accept the federal funds would make unannounced toxicology screenings a condition for participation in a range of clubs and teams.

Wednesday's meeting with officials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy was the second stop in a national tour to encourage schools to apply for federal grants that would administer drug tests to students who participate in extracurricular programs.

Government officials said the confidential tests are not designed to catch and punish teen drug users but are meant to serve as a tool to help prevent drug use and identify those who need help battling a potential lifetime of addiction.

Just last week, the Vista Unified School District authorized random drug testing for more than 3,200 students involved in extracurricular activities. The program is funded with a $211,000 federal grant.

Last year, the Oceanside Unified School District implemented a similar program.

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