St. Viator tests students for alcohol, drugs

October 21, 2013 (ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.)

"I was kind of surprised because a lot of the students disagree with it. And I was kind of surprised the teachers didn't agree with the students," Anthony Citrano, student, said.

The private Catholic high school, located at 1213 E Oakton Street in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, has randomly tested students for drugs since 2007. But starting this week the school will also begin testing for alcohol.

"We're testing because we care about our kids. Alcohol is a threat to teenagers- their lives, their dreams, their hopes," St. Viator High School President Corey Brost said.

Brost said 10 to 20 students could be tested each week. The students would be randomly chosen and identified by student ID number by a computer program used by the Massachusetts-based company hired by the school.

"Parents of teens are very concerned about underage drinking. It is a problem. It's a known problem," Diane Jamieson, St. Viator Parents Club, said.

The hair samples taken will be tested for alcohol, and illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. Test results are returned within five days. It will be up to the school to decide how to handle disciplining or counseling from there.

"I think it's alright. I think it's random, so not everyone's going to be tested, and I think it's good to have in mind the students," Jane Harris, student, said.

And while most Viator students said they understand the dangers of underage drinking, some say the issue should not involve school policy.

"I just think it's more our parents' responsibility than our school's," Nadia Diclementi said.

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