THORNTON, Colo. - The mother of a 12-year-old Colorado middle school student received an apology from district officials after her daughter was tested for drugs without the mother’s knowledge, KDVR reported.
Amber Burk said she was stunned to learn that her daughter, Alyssa, was pulled out of her sixth-grade class at Century Middle School in Thornton last week, the television station reported.
"We were driving home and she told me they pulled her out of class because she smelled like marijuana," Amber Burk told KDVR. "Then she goes, 'It's OK, Mom. I passed my test.' And I said, 'What test?'"
The girl’s father also was not notified, Amber Burk told the television station.
"Not only did they do it without consent, but they didn't call back and say, 'Hey, by the way, this is what happened today at school.' And I think they should have," Amber Burk told KDVR.
According to the district policy for Adams 12 Five Star Schools, "attempts will be made to contact parents prior to the administration of sobriety tests."
In a statement, a spokesman for the school district said the school had a right to test the child, but needed to make an effort to contact the student’s parents first.
“If a student is suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance, trained school staff may administer tests to determine if the student is under the influence,” the statement said. “Our practice, per district policy, is to attempt to contact the guardian in the primary household prior to the administration of the test. Failure to grant permission to participate in or allow tests does not prohibit administrators from proceeding with the test when reasonable suspicion exists that a student is under the influence of a controlled substance.”
In addressing the incident involving Alyssa Burk, the school district said in its statement, “In this situation the school did not contact the guardian in the primary household prior to the administration of the test. Following the test, school administration has been in contact with the student's guardians and is committed to improving communication moving forward.”
Amber Burk said the principal at Century Middle School sent her an apology via email and promised more diligence in notifying parents.
"I think that's good. I like that result," Amber Burk told KDVR. "I just want people to know this is not OK. I'm not OK with it."
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