Biloxi School District: Educators can't turn a blind eye to illegal drugs

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - None of the juveniles arrested in a raid in Hancock County on Wednesday were at school when they were taken into custody. However, a South Mississippi school administrator says campuses are not immune to the drug problem. And the worst thing educators can do is to put their heads in the sand.

The Biloxi School District is taking a proactive approach to keeping drugs out of schools. Junior high and high school students who play sports or do other extracurricular activities have to agree to random drug testing. The same goes for students who drive to school or take a lab based science classes.

Jermaine Brown, Director of Student Services for Biloxi Schools, said that's more than 70 percent of 7th to 12th graders.

"Especially when you look at the fact that they could be pulled from participating in certain activities, pulled from driving, I believe it is a deterrent for some of those kids," said Brown. "We test over 30 kids per month, and it's all random. Do we catch kids in that sample? Every once and a while. Sure. That's just the realization of where we are."

Administrators said students realize they and their vehicles could be searched at any time and there are periodic sweeps by police drug dogs. The educators said the goal isn't catching students messing up. It's more about preventing students from becoming hooked on drugs.

"It's something that we're going to preach to them. Every opportunity that we can, we bring in guest speakers," Brown said. "They need to understand the consequences. That it's not good for your body, as well as dealing with Youth Court and what the outcomes could be. Because any time we find a kid or student in that situation, we're required by law to report it to local law enforcement."

Biloxi School officials said they have community partnerships to provide counseling and rehabilitation for students who test positive for drugs.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.