PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. (CBS Local) — Several parents in a Kansas town are upset after “too much hair was taken” from their children’s heads during a random drug test at school.
Janette and Brian Anderson told KSNW they were shocked when their child came home earlier this month with a bald spot.
“She came home and was upset because she had shaven a big spot off of her head, which wound up being the size of the quarter on the back of her head,” Brian said.
“She said, ‘Mom you’re going to be mad,’” Jeanette recalled. “And she instantly showed me and the tears were there.”
The school district in Phillipsburg started randomly drug testing last year after parents voiced concern about middle and high school students using drugs.
Parents signed a consent form, but many said they didn’t realize a portion of their child’s head would be shaved.
“I apologize to those kids and those parents,” USD 325 Superintendent Mike Gower told KWCH. “We’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Gower said the school board opted for the hair follicle testing instead or urine and swab testing because it can detect drugs as far as 90 days back.
He said the drug-testing company usually takes between 100 to 120 strands of hair from three places on the scalp, an amount that compares to the diameter of a pencil. But this time the company took larger amounts, more like the size of a quarter.
“I’m not going to throw the company under the bus or the board or anybody else,” Gower said. “I’m the superintendent, what happens here is on me. I take full responsibility.”
Gower said the district will look into other drug testing companies to use going forward.