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New Jersey School District OKs Random Drug Testing for Middle School Students

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A New Jersey school district has signed off on a new policy to allow random drug testing for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.

The new Belvidere School District program will begin in the fall, with parents choosing whether or not they want their child to participate.

Testing will take place in the nurse's office, and students who test positive would not be punished or turned over to the police — instead, their parents would be notified and they would be required to attend an early intervention program. Parents would pay for the cost of treatment.

"Hopefully it works as a deterrent and to help kids as opposed to it being punitive," Superintendent Dirk Swaneveld told the Lehigh Valley Express-Times.

The district has had random drug tests for high school students since 2008. Swaneveld said the school board had been discussing the possibility of extending it to middle schools since January, but wanted to take its time to "make sure we had it right."

Also according to the policy, "undercover operations" may be permitted where a "less intrusive means of law enforcement intervention may be ineffective."

Swaneveld waved that part of the policy away.

"No, there's not going to be any undercover operations," he told the Express-Times. "Not the way you're reading it."

Robert Vines, whose two children attend Oxford Street School told CBS New York he thinks the new program is a good idea.

"The program is great because that would give you more chance to get more involved in your children's life, through the school system without law enforcement coming into it," Vines said.

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