Early schools could implement random drug testing as soon as the spring semester, if trustees take action to do so at the November board meeting.
Trustees reviewed a draft of a drug-testing policy Monday, and representatives from Southwest Consortium attended the meeting to explain how the testing procedure would work. No action was taken because the agenda item was “discussion only,” but also, board members said they wanted time to discuss the testing program with parents and constituents.
“No one will be happier than me when we do the tests, and they all come back negative, and I suspect they will,” said Trustee Pat Mooney. “To me, testing is a preventive measure. It gives students one more reason to say ‘no’ if they’re offered drugs.”
According to the draft of the policy trustees reviewed on Monday, all students in grades 7 through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities, as well as students freshmen through seniors who receive parking permits, will be subject to random testing.
The Southwest Consortium representatives said typically school districts request the urinalysis that screens for five “panels” — Amphetamines (including Methamphetamine, “Crystal Meth”); Cannabinoids (THC, Marijuana); Cocaine; Opiates (Codeine, Morphine, Heroin, Oxycodone, Vidcodin, etc.); Phencyclidine (PCP). The urinalysis will also show alcohol, but only if it was ingested within hours of consumption. About 12 school districts in the Region XV Educational Service Center currently conduct random testing through the consortium the representatives said.
The introduction on the drug testing policy draft also states, “Early ISD has not implemented a drug-testing program to identify and punish students who have made bad decisions about drugs. This program has been established to give students who face daily pressure from their peers to experiment with drugs an out.”
School superintendent Brett Koch, who was the principal author for the draft, told board members he researched the drug testing policies of several districts, though much of the draft followed the policy of the Tahoka school district, and also sought counsel from the Texas Association of School Boards legal department.
“We’ll have all of this reviewed again, before it’s finalized,” Koch said at the meeting.
The draft outlines the ramifications of positive testing. All offenses will result in parent, student and administration conferences. And offenses have a graduated number of days the student will be kept from full participation in extracurricular activities starting with 15 days for a first offense. However, a student who tests positive will be expected to continue to attend practices or prepare for the extracurricular event. That student will not be allowed to attend, compete or perform at contests or competitions during the prescribed time.