Drug survey of SCS students approved by school board

The Stanly County School Board moved forward Tuesday night with plans to conduct a voluntary drug survey of its students.

After the meeting, Vice Chairman Ryan McIntyre, the lone dissenting vote, said he voted against the survey because he believed the survey should require consent from parents to do the survey as opposed to opting out.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said one of the reasons the board was presented a sample survey last month was to give board members the opportunity to review the questions.

James said the survey could go forward with the removal of a gender-related question, which the Center for Prevention Services assured the process could go forward without.

CPS will put together prevention programs for Stanly County Schools based on the data obtained from the survey.

“With the opioid crisis in Stanly County, unfortunately, they definitely want to collect the data so they can, again on our behalf, offer programs that will educate our kids on opioid use,” James said.

McIntyre asked if the data could be shared or sold. James said the only data which could be shared is non-specific and students would be covered by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The survey will not ask for a student’s name, but will ask the student’s grade.

The data will also be available to the SCS staff internally, James added.

The survey has been used by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for 30 years, and since Stanly has been among the state’s leaders in opioid abuse, CPS sought to help Stanly County Schools.

James said the advantage for SCS will be a drug prevention curriculum for which the school system will not have to teach or fund.