All potential new employees at a central Iowa school district will be required to undergo drug testing. It’s believed that the West Des Moines school district is the first in the state to adopt such a policy. School board member Susan Moritz says she and the other board members were aware of that – when they approved the measure this week.
"We were, but we were surprised it hadn’t been done in other districts," Moritz said. Teachers will not be randomly tested. Moritz says it will only affect potential employees and current employees suspected of drug use.
"The policy was really prompted by the fact that our bus drivers and other commercially licensed drivers were already required to have testing," Moritz says, "and we thought it was equally important for the personnel who are in the school buildings with our students to also be tested." The move could cost the district up to $10,000 a year.
Moritz says the drug testing costs about $40 per new hire and the distinct hires between 200 and 250 people a year. West Des Moines school district employees that are suspected of drug use or drinking alcohol on the job could be fired or forced to seek treatment, if they are tested at work and have a blood-alcohol concentration of .04 or higher.
Moritz says, "The policy is really a proactive step. We’re not reacting to any particular problem either in the past or in the present. We really just want to be out ahead of this one."