Build community consensus
To increase your program's chances of success, begin work early in the process to gain the full support of those in the community who will be most affected by it. This includes parents, students, the Board of Education, the Superintendent, local health care agencies, local businesses, and community coalitions. For some, student drug testing is an emotional and controversial issue—all the more reason to keep everyone informed and listen to every point of view. Focus groups or town hall meetings give you an opportunity to share the information that led to your decision to implement a drug-testing program.
There's no guarantee, of course, that everyone will agree that random drug testing is an appropriate course of action. But by assuring parents and students that the program will not be punitive, that confidentiality will be closely maintained, and that they may freely voice their opinions, you may win their support. For those who will not be swayed, point out that no student will be forced to submit to a drug test. Although kids whose parents refuse to give consent may lose the privilege of taking part in extracurricular activities, parents must always have the ability to opt out of the drug-testing program.