Carroll ISD trustees discuss voluntary student drug testing program

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Carroll ISD board members discussed a drug testing opt-in pilot program for the 2018-19 school year.

The program would offer free and voluntary drug testing to students and families at Carroll ISD middle and high school campuses on random testing days.

The presentation said the five purposes of the program are:

1. To prevent injury, illness and harm resulting from the use of illegal drugs or alcohol;
2. To enforce a drug-free educational environment;
3. Discourage students use of illegal or performance enhancing drugs or alcohol;
4. To educate students regarding the harm caused by the use of illegal and performance enhancing drugs or alcohol; and
5. Provide students with a reason to say no to the use of illegal drugs and alcohol.

To participate in the program, a student or their parent must consent, and if a student is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must sign a consent form. A parent or guardian may revoke their consent at any time.

As many as six random testing dates will be held during the semester, in which contracted laboratory personnel will generate a random sample of students who will be tested on those dates and they will not be given prior notice.

“The contracted laboratory personnel will collect urine samples under conditions no more intrusive than those experienced in a public restroom,” said Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Janet McDade. “Samples will be produced by students from behind a closed restroom stall, and a district or laboratory representative of the same gender will be present when samples are collected.”

If a student tests positive on the first test, it will be confirmed by a second test, before it is reported as a positive. Any positive result will require a mandatory meeting between the students, their parent and a district official, in which available resources will be provided, and the student will automatically be tested again on the next random testing day.

The program said that test results would not be used to directly impose disciplinary action, academic penalties or criminal prosecution, however, the use or possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia on campuses will be subject to consequences in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

If a student whose parent has consented to testing has refused to be tested or has tampered with their sample, he or she will then have his or her sample reported as a positive test result and be subject to the accompanying provisions. If student who has been randomly selected for testing is absent on that day, they will automatically be tested on the following random testing day.

The results will remain confidential and will not remain in the student’s academic record. Results will only be disclosed to the student, their parent and the designated district officials that will refer services.

As a part of the program, the district will conduct meetings with parents prior to the beginning of each semester to explain the program's policies and consent procedures.

The program’s committee is still exploring whether it will include steroids and alcohol in the substances to test for.

The board agreed to consider the first read of the voluntary drug-testing program on October 15. If approved, the program is expected to launch in January 2019.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.