NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Metro schools will start using a new spray to test students for drug possession, a method designed to keep illegal narcotics off campuses.
For years, Metro schools have relied on a dog to sniff out drugs at schools. However, assistant superintendent Ralph Thompson said with a high number of students being busted with pot and cocaine, they are adding a new search method.
Metro will be the first school district in Tennessee to use D4D drug detection spray. The test is said to be 90 percent accurate and can detect more than 10 different drugs based on a color chart.
School leaders said they will use the test on students' desks, cars, book bags and pockets.
Thompson said the new test will be effective in cutting down on drugs at school. Even if school officials don't find the actual drugs on a student, a positive test will give them reason to continue searching and notify parents.
"(Parents can be contacted, and we can) say, 'Hey, you know what? We didn't find 'X' on your child today, but this is what we did find. You might want to have your child tested. You might want to counsel your child,'" said Thompson.
Thompson said a positive reading does not always mean a particular student is using drugs, but they might be in close contact with someone who is. He said the district will always run several tests to find the source of the problem.
"We're going to continue to search and search and search until we can't find anything else," said Thompson.
Thompson said the equipment for the test will be free through a partnership with the National Institute of Justice. Metro schools will begin using the spray-test next week.
By Jonathan Martin
POSTED: 3:14 pm CST November 25, 2008