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Concerns over drug tests after teen tests positive

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Concerns about drug testing at local schools after a teenager tested positive for cocaine even though he said he?s never used the drug. (WLS)

There are concerns about drug testing at local schools after a teenager tested positive for cocaine even though he said he's never used the drug. Now the student and three classmates are taking their case to court.

ABC7 spoke to a 15-year-old student selected to take a random drug test at his school. He volunteered to take the test figuring he had nothing to worry about. Until the results came in the mail.

Elijah Ikezoe-Jones is a freshman in high school, an above average student, an athlete and back in December tested positive for cocaine use.

"That's ridiculous I would never do anything like that," he said.

His mother, Nishia, immediately had him retested by an independent lab. The result showed no sign of cocaine

"It was just very confusing it was upsetting because I had no idea how something like this could happen," she said.

Nisha later learned the same lab company that tested her son tested at least four black students at Marian Catholic High School.

According to court documents, they too tested positive for cocaine. But when tested by an independent lab, all four students tested negative. Still, two of them were expelled.

"All of the students were really model students at school, members of the football team, basketball team, lacrosse team, choir, going to college tours," attorney Mary Grieb said.

Grieb represents the Marian High students and parents now suing the school and lab company Omega Laboratories for "intentional and reckless discrimination" among other claims

In a statement to abc7 omega labs responded... Saying in part,"Omega performs thousands of forensic drug tests every day which are used in employment settings and by law enforcement and military agencies...Omega stands by the reliability of its forensic drug testing."

"Some populations could be at risk for testing positive when they're not actually using cocaine but are exposed in their environment," Dr. Trevonne Thompson, a toxicologist said.

But Elijah said he's never been around cocaine.
"I've never been around it because I know my neighborhood like the back of my hand, I've been raised here since I was in the 1st grade, I know most of the people around here, he said.

Elijah's mother is convinced that the problem is Omega Labs.

"How is this happening multiple times, to these same students, these African American kids that are good students? That are athletes? How is this possible? This lab company is, they have to be stopped, I don't know any other way to put it," she said.

Elijah was not suspended or expelled and his school no longer conducts drug tests through omega labs.

After learning this story and hearing others like it the doctor we spoke to said what's key here is having a doctor interpret the results of those student drug tests before administrators take any disciplinary action.

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