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School To Use Hair Test To Screen For Student Alcohol Use

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Students will face mandatory testing for drugs and also alcohol this school year, at one northwest suburban high school.

Concerns about underage drinking prompted St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights to add alcohol to its random drug test policy.

The test will use hair samples to determine whether a student has used alcohol in the past 90 days.

St. Viator administrators say random drug testing of students has been ongoing since 2007, and less than 1 percent have come back positive.

“We’re adding this test because we care about our kids and we want them to be the that best God created them to be,” said Corey Brost, St. Viator President.

“It’s a great vehicle for them to understand that if you’re not going to be accountable to your parents, you’re going to be accountable to somebody,” said Joe Farwell, a parent of a student at St. Viator.

And students say, it may do the job.

“Kids fear getting suspensions from school or detentions even and maybe what their parents will do, if they find out they’re getting caught, so I think it actually will make a difference,” said St. Viator student Miguel Aguilar.

The private school believes it is among the first in Illinois to have a mandatory alcohol testing policy.

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union questions the decision, but concedes in this case that because the school is private, only parents can object to the testing.

School officials said the tests won’t pick up trace levels of alcohol from Communion wine. Two positive tests would result in disciplinary action.

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