David Siegel proposes drug testing plan for Orange County students

Superintendent, Local 6 legal analyst fear idea may violate student privacy rights


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Time share mogul David Siegel has a dramatic and bold plan to combat drugs in schools, but it's already facing legal questions before it even gets off the ground.

Siegel told Local 6 he's willing to front the money to start mandatory drug testing of all students in Orange County schools.

Local 6 took that idea to the Orange County Public Schools superintendent and the Local 6 legal analyst. Both fear the idea, while good-intentioned, may violate student privacy rights.

"I didn't know my daughter was on drugs. So, it came as a complete shock when she overdosed," said Siegel, who devised the plan after his daughter, Victoria, died 10 weeks ago. "We have to get drug testing in the schools, starting with middle school, high school and the universities."

"I'll pay for the drug testing. I'm on a mission to save lives," Siegel continued while speaking on an upcoming episode of Local 6's Flashpoint. "Being tested will deter them from using drugs."

Parents Local 6 spoke with gave varied opinions on the proposal, but experts proved to be tougher critics.

"I am hesitant to support what might be an additional invasion upon our students with mandatory drug testing," Orange County School District Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said. "I'm not sure I can support it at this point. I'm waiting to here the legal ramifications behind it."

Local 6 legal analyst Luis Calderon goes one step further.

"It's just a huge invasion of privacy. Any kind of drug testing that's mandatory would be a violation of privacy. Usually when you see drug testing, it's consensual," Calderon said.

What happens if a student tests positive for drugs? What does the school do with those results? Calderon said there are legal hurdles that may prevent the idea from becoming reality.

"Sometimes, catastrophes are paved by good intentions," Calderon said.

For Siegel, his good intentions come directly from the heart.

"Look at your children. Don't be blindsided like I was. Look at your children and test them," Siegel said.

Monday, Siegel joined Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs to announce a new heroin task force designed to stop a drug that killed 90 people in Orange and Osceola counties last year alone. Jenkins also serves on the task force.

Viewers can hear more of Siegel's interview on Flashpoint on Local 6 at 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 29.