Carroll ISD school board discusses a voluntary drug-testing pilot program

The Carroll ISD board trustees directed district staff to explore the potential implementation of a voluntary, nonpunitive random drug-testing program for middle and high school students during a preliminary discussion during Monday’s school board meeting.

The purpose of this proposed pilot program is to enforce a drug-free educational environment, educate students and prevent harmful consequences caused by illegal drug and alcohol use, according to a staff presentation.

Parents may sign their children up, and 10 percent of participating students would be tested each testing date. Tests may be administered as many as six times per year, according to the proposed plan. Positive drug test results would require a parent-student-staff meeting. Positive results alone would not lead to punitive actions; however, if students commit offenses such as coming to school with illicit drugs in their possession, they may be subject to punishment.

The goal is not to penalize students but to provide resources to those who test positive for drug use, said Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations.

Staff has yet to determine the budgetary impact, Assistant Superintendent Janet McDade said. The district may use funds allocated for the district’s Operation #SAFEdragon program, which includes initiatives aimed at increasing school safety and promoting emergency preparedness.

Staff is collaborating with the Texas Association of School Boards to draft a policy to guide the program, Thannum said. There are still specific details to consider.

“I still support that we explore it,” board President Sheri Mills said. “I feel like a pilot program is better than no program at all.”

The first and second readings of the policy are expected to take place in November, Thannum said. Pending board approval, the program is expected to launch in January.
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.