Carroll ISD approves first reading of proposed policy for new drug-testing program

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The Carroll ISD board of trustees approved the first reading of a policy instituting a two-year, voluntary drug-testing program for middle and high school students during Monday’s meeting.

The pilot program is modeled after the one implemented at Keller ISD, said Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations. Parents of students in grades 7 through 12 can sign their children up to participate in this program at no cost to them.

“Because it’s a voluntary program, a parent can rescind at any point,” Thannum said.

Students would be randomly chosen for drug testing on up to six different dates throughout the year, according to the meeting agenda packet. Up to 10 percent of participating students would be chosen each test date.

Results would be confidential, available only to the student, his or her parents and designated CISD officials, according to the agenda packet. Positive test results alone would not warrant penalties against the student; however, disciplinary action will be taken if the student violates the student code of conduct, state law or local policy by committing offenses such as possessing prohibited items.

The purpose of the program is to deter illegal drug or alcohol use, prevent injury and health risks, and provide intervention resources to students and their families, according to the agenda packet. A positive test result would necessitate a meeting with the student, a qualified staff member, such as a counselor, and the parent or guardian if that student is under 18 years old.

If a student fails three consecutive tests, district officials may consider discontinuing testing for that particular student, according to the drafted policy.

CISD board Vice President Michelle Moore suggested amending the policy to include punitive consequences—such as barring them from extracurricular activities—should a student fail drug testing three consecutive times.

“As a district do we not have more of a responsibility to take action at that point?” she asked.

Moore is not against the program and would even support mandatory testing, she said. However, she said she would like to see some provision for potential disciplinary consequences after a certain point.

There is a concern that taking extracurricular activities from students who may be struggling with drug or alcohol abuse may have adverse effects, board trustee Todd Carlton said.

Trustee David Almand said because this is a pilot program the policy can be amended as needed depending on data collected.

The first reading was approved with a 5-1 vote with Moore opposing. Board President Sheri Mills and Superintendent David Faltys were absent.

Pending board approval of the second reading, the program will likely launch in early 2019, Thannum said. Staff will be looking to contract a certified drug-testing laboratory to provide testing services in the coming weeks.

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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.
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