Melton: Test 6th-12th Graders for Drugs - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 08/02/05

Melton: Test 6th-12th Graders for Drugs

By Andrew Hasbun
andrew@wlbt.net

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton wants students to be able to pass one test in particular... a drug test.

Announcing his commitment to improve Jackson's public schools, Melton wants officials to consider across-the-board drug testing.

"The only way that I can know to do it without profiling and selecting certain kids is just to test everybody," said Melton. "If Johnny shows up hot on marijuana we know that Johnny needs some help."

Melton asked the city council to begin discussing the issue and figure out a way to fund it...possibly through grants. Melton cites Pearl and Rankin county's policies of testing students suspicious of using drugs. Ideally the mayor would like to test everyone from 6th to 12th grade.

"The challenge that I have issued to the city council is who is going to be in charge, and, at this point, I am saying we are as adults," said Melton

But the mayor says he doesn't want to expose users. He feels the focus should be on helping students kick the habit by providing proper treatment and getting parents involved.

"It is not about punishment," said Melton. "It is about getting in there, rolling up our sleeves, and helping them before they develop a very serious addiction."

In a statement, J.P.S. says they look forward to tackle the issue, but "testing students for drugs in the school environment would require the development of policy with input of parents and administrators and then approval of the school board."

A process sure to stir up controversy.

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