A school district in Texas will begin drug testing students as young as 12 years old who are interested in playing sports or participating in other extracurricular activities.
Testing will begin with the resumption of classes next month at Bushland Independent School District and will be required of students in grades seven through 12 who play in the band, sit on the student council, assemble a yearbook, play chess or participate in other clubs. Students who receive a permit to park at the high school also will be subjected to testing.
Superintendent Chris Wigington says the district doesn’t have a drug problem but that it’s trying to get ahead in terms of keeping students safe and in a drug-free environment.
Why they chose to spend tight funds on drug testing when they state there is no drug problem remains unclear. Even more troubling is what will they do should a child test positive for illegal drugs?
“We’ve discussed drug testing policy for about a year now and the board wants to be proactive,” Wigington said. “They want our kids to have a drug-free environment. We want out kids to make great decisions.”
“There isn’t an apparent drug problem,” Assistant Superintendent Angie Watson added, “but that isn’t to say that kids across the nation are not being introduced to drugs and getting into drugs. We’re just trying to be proactive. We’re giving them a reason to not do that.”
The school board a few months ago gave the OK for the development of a policy and then district officials released it to the public last week, Watson said. There are about 700 students in grades seven through 12 in the district, which is just west of Amarillo. Either saliva swabs or urine samples from those students involved in extracurricular activities will be tested.
Administrators will check for seven substances — including alcohol, marijuana, heroin and opioids — and Watson said funds were set aside in the school budget this year to cover costs. Some students also will be subjected to random follow-up testing to ensure they’re adhering to the policy.
A school district in Nebraska took the unusual step last month of adding nicotine to the list of drugs to be randomly tested. The move by Fairbury Public Schools drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska.
Several districts in Texas have drug testing in place. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 broadened the authority of public schools to test children for illegal drugs by allowing for the inclusion of middle and high school students participating in extracurricular programs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Testing had previously been allowed only for student athletes.
Welcome to Bushland High School. I am Kristi Culpepper, Principal. This will be my 13th year in Bushland Independent School District and my third year as principal. We strive to give your students an excellent education, one that prepares them for their future whether it be a four year university, two year junior college, technical school, or the military. We want our students to feel safe while they are on campus and secure enough to come speak with us when they feel necessary. We value our relationships with our students, their families and our community. We always welcome you to visit our campus.
However students will be tested for illegal narcotics…..if they test positive what course of action the School District will take remains unclear.