Woodward Academy President Stuart Gulley said school officials should lead by example under the new policy, which is why the drug testing is extended to employees and board members.
“I’m proud of the board for stepping up to the plate and subjecting themselves to the testing,” he said.
While students are allowed leniency for the first offense — but only if they admit prior to the test that it may come back positive for substance use — adults are not.
The policy states the employees and governing board members will be terminated or asked to step down immediately if tested positive.
Woodward Academy administrators are also using the new policy as a means to ramp up educational efforts, building on what was already in place.
“We have a fairly comprehensive program that begins as early as primary schools in pre-K,” Gulley said.
While the effects of drug and alcohol use aren’t harped on in the younger grades, a lot of focus is turned on decision-making and building integrity and character.
Middle school classes will see the most increased educational efforts.
“We feel like we have a unique opportunity in the middle school years of seventh and eighth grade through science curriculum to have a heavier emphasis on the impact of drug and alcohol use on individuals,” Gulley said.
During science classes, students will be educated on the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Parents of students in the seventh and eighth grade will also be required to attend an educational course, as well.
“That aspect of the drug initiative probably is, at this point, the least developed,” Gulley said. “We’re going to take the better part of this year to iron out all the details on what we’ll accomplish with that initiative.”
He said he and school officials recognize that it might not be particularly easy for parents to attend courses because of the widely spread student population.
“It’s not always easy for parents to get to campus events like this, but we feel it’s important enough to want them and require them to make the commitment,” Gulley said.
To ease the burden, online courses may be made available for parents.
Upper school parents are not required to attend courses, but are welcome to participate, Gulley said.