It Pays to Pass - Voluntary Drug Testing Program

Operation Our Town created the It Pays to Pass Program two years ago to encourage kids in grades 7 through 12 to develop good habits and reward them for continuing to make the right choices.  The It Pays to Pass Program rewards students that participate in the Hollidaysburg Area School District’s voluntary drug testing program.  The purpose of the program is to assist students to remain drug-free and to give students an excuse to not give in to peer pressure if they were asked to try drugs or alcohol.

Each year, the Hollidaysburg School District provides a packet to all Junior and Senior High students and families to sign up for the district’s voluntary drug & alcohol testing program.  Students and parents must complete the consent packet.  Upon turning in the consent packet, the students are given an It Pays to Pass t-shirt provided by Operation Our Town.  Student names are put in a lottery system and each week students are randomly picked from the lottery to be tested.  If a student passes the 5 panel drug screen or the alcohol mouth swab test, they are given a $25 Sheetz gift card provided by Operation Our Town through the sponsorship of local businesses.  Parents are notified of the test and the results.  If a student does not pass the test, a non-punitive system is used.  They are not punished at school, however, they must sign up for drug counseling or a rehab program.  They are also referred to the school SAP (Student Assistance Program) team.

In the Junior High, 41 students have chosen to participate in the program in the 2017-2018 school year, which has doubled from the 2016-2017 school year.  The Junior High randomly tests one student each week.  Wendy Lieb, Hollidaysburg Junior High School Nurse who administers the drug testing for the Junior High said, “The program is a great way to promote healthy lifestyle choices, especially at the Junior High age where our young adults are very impressionable.  The program gives the students a way “out” of experimenting with drugs or alcohol when with their peers.”

In the Senior High, 100 students have chosen to participate in the program in the 2017-2018 school year.  The numbers have doubled this school year as compared to prior years where there were only 30-40 students signed up each school year since the initiation of the voluntary drug testing about 7 years ago.  The Senior High randomly tests three students each week.  Julie Bowser, Hollidaysburg Senior High School Nurse who administers the drug testing for the Senior High said, “The program has been a positive healthy behavior promotion aspect for the school environment.  The students are enthusiastic about being called for testing and are thrilled with the Sheetz gift cards!  Most of our students drive, so many of them say they will use the gift card for gas.”

We are truly grateful for the support of the following local businesses that have contributed monetary donations to sponsor the purchase of the Sheetz gift cards:  Ansley RV, DiAndrea Media, Roundhouse Harley-Davidson, Stiffler McGraw, Value Drug Company, Ventura Construction Services, and YTI Career Institute-Altoona.  And we also offer a huge thank you to Sheetz for partnering with us again to support this very important program!