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“The population of students from Grade 4 (the grade level of 10-year old students) to Grade 12 total at least 14 million.At Ph P 200 per student for the testing fee alone, the budget will already amount to Ph P 2.8 billion.
However, drug testing all those applying for eligibility has been challenged frequently in the courts. Winograd said there could be a variety of reasons why West Virginia lawmakers were particularly interested in this policy, but that one could be continued concern for drug-abuse issues in the state.
"It's not an uncommon thing to have in workplaces, but I think people are thinking about substance-abuse drugs, but in West Virginia they could've easily been thinking about opioid addiction, which is a huge problem in that state," Winograd said.
"We understand that each state or community must determine their criteria for participation along with financial models that ensure long-term sustainability of the programs." Students seeking eligibility for West Virginia's new program will be able to start taking drug tests as early as July.
Proposals for mandatory drug testing on secondary and tertiary students following Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) statements on drug affectation in schools have been put out by various government agencies since last week.
Some states require students to pledge to remain working in their respective state after completing the program, with the hopes of supporting economic growth.
However, Morley Winograd, president of the Campaign for Free College Tuition, said his organization recommends that programs should have the least rigid eligibility requirements possible.In a statement also on Thursday, the Department of Education cited cost and legal implications as well as the agency’s ongoing drug testing program.The Dep Ed said, “the proposal of the [PDEA] to test all students age 10 and older may require the amendment of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which authorizes drug testing for secondary and tertiary level students only.” The Dep Ed also warned the PDEA on the cost implementation of its plan.A new proposal by PDEA yesterday was to include elementary students, Grade 4 or 10 years old and above.A drug testing program has been initiated by the Department of Education (Dep Ed) since 2017 and has been pushed by administrations since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.John Bolt, a spokesman for the state flagship West Virginia University, said the policy won't affect admissions at the main campus -- even for students receiving need-based financial aid to attend the university.The policy will affect the university's affiliate campus at Potomac State College, which Bolt said primarily offers two-year programs.Starting in July, students in West Virginia seeking to take advantage of the state's new tuition-free community college program will have to submit to a blanket drug test.The policy makes West Virginia's free-tuition legislation unique nationwide.In March, the state Legislature passed West Virginia Invests -- legislation allowing students in the state to attend public colleges with qualifying certificate and associate degrees tuition-free.However, among the eligibility requirements to receive this benefit is passing a drug test, including for marijuana use, before the beginning of the semester.