School to start testing students for drugs

A high school in south central Sweden plans to go ahead with drug testing on students, despite criticism from the national education agency.

“We’re planning to start this week with first-year students [16-year-olds],” Jan Andersson, the head of Brinellgymnasiet in Nässjö, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

In moving ahead with random and voluntary drug testing of high school students, the school is ignoring criticism from the National Agency of Education (Skolverket), which rejected a proposal to implement drug testing in Swedish high schools.

It’s illegal to force a student to take a drug test, and even voluntary tests may be viewed as a form of coercion, according to the agency.

Education agency head Ann-Marie Begler finds Brinellgymnasiet’s decision to start drug testing startling.

“I’m very surprised that the municipality didn’t accept the decision we took,” she told SR.

In November, the Nässjö municipality’s education committee decided to start testing Brinellgymnasiet students for drugs after having had previous problems with drugs at the school.

“People will be chosen randomly. We intended to start with five [students] each time, but we probably won’t do that now, but will instead choose a smaller number,” school head Andersson explained.

Exactly how the students will be called in for tests has yet to be decided. One option is to send them a mobile phone text message in order to ensure the students don’t feel singled out.

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