High School Testing Kids' Hair for Alcohol Use Goes Way Too Far

alcohol Checking high school kids to make sure they aren't drinking alcohol is nothing new. When I was a kid, the school threatened to park a police officer with a breathalyzer to test prom-goers before they could board the bus for an after-prom trip to an amusement park. That was much longer ago than I'd like to admit. But testing a kid for being drunk on school grounds is one thing. Testing kids for using alcohol, as long as three months ago? Well, that's the plan at a Chicago-area high school.

St. Viator High School is adding alcohol to its mandatory drug testing policy this year. Kids will randomly be forced to submit to tests of their hair to determine if they've been drinking.


But this test doesn't just catch a kid who is drunk today, at school. It can detect alcohol usage over the past 90 days. Fail more than once, and a kid will be subject to disciplinary action.

Holy big brother, Batman!

Parents tend to have pretty strong opinions about kids and alcohol. Some say the two should never mix. Some think it's OK to introduce them, provided you use common sense.

Either way you want to parent, that's your prerogative, but still, that should be up to you. The parent.

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For a school to say they're going to start disciplining kids for off-campus drinking is absurd. They're stepping into parental territory.

I happen to be one of the latter of the aforementioned parents. I plan to allow my daughter to do a modicum of drinking once she's a teenager. It will be at home, not out at parties, and it won't be in excessive quantities. I grew up in a home where we were taught to have one beer or glass of wine with dinner, and I think it helped demystify alcohol, preventing some of the dangerous alcoholic antics many kids fall victim to in college. 

It's not how every parent operates, but many do. It's our right ... not to mention perfectly legal.

How dare a school punish a kid for doing something their parents approved? Something that happened off of school grounds? Something that carries no shame with it nor illegality?

I'm all for schools keeping our kids safe, but ultimately, there are some decisions that remain in the parents' hands. What a kid does with alcohol off-campus is one of them.

Would you allow your child to have this test done?


Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

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