Park City School District considers drug testing policy after pair of student deaths

PARK CITY, Utah -- If you are a student in Park City and play a sport or are a member of a club, then you better be prepared to take a drug test.

The Park City School District is thinking about issuing random tests, and the measure is in response to the deaths of two students last month that are believed to be drug-related.

“It’s the first I ever heard about it, I think it sounds a little extreme at this level,” said parent Brent Burnham.

Two Treasure Mountain Junior High students died mysteriously in September. Police believe they may have overdosed on the new synthetic drug Pink. The deaths were the main catalyst for the district to look into testing.

“The whole idea about this is not a gotcha, we’re not seeking kids out trying to be punitive, it’s more about intervention and prevention,” said Jamie Sheetz, Park City Athletic Director.

If implemented, all students grades 9 through 12 who participate in school sports or any other extracurricular activity could be subject to a random drug test. That’s upwards of 900 students. The average test costs about $20.

“If it saves one life on a Friday or Saturday, that’s definitely worth the entire cost,” Sheetz said.

The district says people who fail would not be kicked off the team, but they would be suspended. Cross Country runner Zoe Heiden says students who don’t do drugs should have nothing to worry about.

“I’m fine with it, I’m not one that’s into drugs, so if I randomly got asked to pee in a cup for drugs I’d be fine with it,” Zoe Heiden said.

Zoe’s mom says it would be good to see the school district and parents work together when it comes to something as serious as drugs.

“Kids get influenced by other kids, so I think by having this drug testing it’s a way of making sure that they are clean,” Karen Heiden said.

If the district decides to implement the testing, the earliest it could go into effect would be the beginning of the next school year.