Lake Travis ISD revisits the conversation surrounding drug testing

The LTISD board of trustees met virtually due to a district closure as a result of COVID-19 until April 13.
The LTISD board of trustees met virtually due to a district closure as a result of COVID-19 until April 13.

The LTISD board of trustees met virtually due to a district closure as a result of COVID-19 until April 13.

The topic of a random drug testing program has been frequently discussed by the Lake Travis ISD Board of Trustees.

The program is mandatory for students in grades 7-12 that participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities, as well as students in grades 9-12 that obtained a parking permit from the district.

The district implements the program in six administrations, testing 7% of the population or about 170 students at the high school level at a time.

A discussion on vaping arose during the Jan. 15 board meeting, in which a number of board members expressed a desire to add nicotine to the list of tested substances, among various other changes.

Superintendent Brad Lancaster confirmed during that meeting while the district can test for nicotine, there is no federally certified test for vaping. The test implemented by their drug testing company Southwest Consortium would not be able to distinguish whether the nicotine was ingested through a vape pen, a cigarette or another tobacco product.



Based on previous conversations, LTISD personnel including Holly Marris-Kuentz, deputy superintendent, Liz Deterra, assistant superintendent and Amber King, general counsel established a report of suggested changes.

Adding nicotine to the list of tested substances was among the suggestions, as well as the option to test a student that was not present during the initial testing day.

Included in the report is the option to provide staff with the necessary training to implement the drug tests themselves in the event that an additional testing day is required. If a student cannot complete the test or is absent for his or her testing period then the district will have the ability to test that student within the next five days. Consequently, this potential change would alter the required 7% testing ratio.

The report also outlined separate consequences for nicotine and illegal drugs, with the consequences for nicotine initially resulting in less harsh consequences.


If these changes are adopted than a student who tests positive for nicotine on first offense will be allocated educational resources and their guardian will receive notification.

Among the consequences includes community service hours, a suspension from extracurricular activities, counseling and subsequent tests.

Board members thanked the committee for their work following the presentation of the proposed changes.

This really nicely reflects everything we talked about in that January meeting,” Trustee Bob Dorsett Jr. said.

According to district information any changes would not take effect until the start of the 2020-21 school year and action will be requested on these potential changes during the scheduled April 15 board meeting.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

Early voting runs from Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Find a polling location where you can vote early in Travis County

Voters can cast their ballots at any of the 37 early voting locations from Oct. 13-30.

Lakeway resident Pat Vanderford speaks during the public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget at Lakeway City Council's Sept. 21 meeting—its first in-person meeting since March. From left: Council Members Sajeev Kumar and Louis Mastrangelo, Mayor Sandy Cox and Mayor Pro Tem Laurie Higginbotham were present at the meeting. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
In first in-person meeting since March, Lakeway schedules budget, tax rate votes for Sept. 28

Lakeway City Council voted Sept. 21 to delay voting on the proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget and the proposed tax rate until Sept. 28.

August homes sales increased in the Lake Travis-Westlake region. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis-Westlake region sees double-digit growth in home sales

Lake Travis-Westlake residential home sales increased by 42% in August and dollar volume by more than 84%. Median prices are also up by 15% when compared to August 2019.

Vista Brewing will host a pop-up beer garden at the Hill Country Galleria starting Sept. 24. (Courtesy Giant Noise Public Relations)
Driftwood's Vista Brewing to open pop-up beer garden in Bee Cave

Vista Brewing will offer a selection of its signature draft beers, local wines, ciders and picnic-style snacks, appetizers and merchandise.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
Georgetown to get steakhouse, speakeasy plus more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Eanes ISD officials will meet Sept. 22 for an in-person board meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD to hold first in-person board meeting since March

The meeting location has been temporarily moved from the S. Don Rogers Administration Building at 601 Camp Craft Road to Westlake High School’s Chap Court at 4100 Westbank Drive, Austin.

Biderman's Deli closed its Westlake location. (Courtesy Biderman's Deli)
Biderman's Deli closes its Westlake location

The New York-style, Jewish-inspired deli opened last Novemember within the Village at Westlake to serve bagels, sandwhiches and other menu items such as matzo ball soup.

Lakeway City Council plans to meet in person at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway City Council to host in-person meeting Sept. 21

Lakeway City Council plans to meet in-person Sept. 21 for the first time since March, when the spread of COVID-19 prompted meeting restrictions.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Kido Home launched in late August offering preschool classes in a virtual setting. (Courtesy Kido)
River Place preschool Kido launches virtual learning platform

The Kido Home platform is available for children ages 2-6 and will feature online small-group classes led by trained instructors.

Trustees met Sept. 17 to discuss reopening campuses. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)(Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD prepares for roughly half its students to return to campus Sept. 21

Eanes ISD officials met virtually for a special called meeting Sept. 17 to discuss reopening campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.