Random drug testing in public schools: in the past, those words have come with controversy as those opposed to the idea claim it's an invasion of privacy. But last summer the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it constitutional for students, who participate in any extra curricular activities, to be randomly drug tested.
Now for the first time Lamesa ISD is adopting the policy in its middle and high schools. NewsChannel 11 went to Lamesa to get response to the new policy.
"We're serving 30 days notice to all students enrolled now and they're aware that the policy has been adopted," explains Ken McCraw, Superintendent of Lamesa ISD. He says students have been warned. A new drug policy has been put into place but it's not what you think. "The whole point of the program is not to catch anyone, it's to prevent it from happening in the first place," he says.
"We're going to have a mandatory drug test at the beginning of the year then we will random test from that point on," says Carlon Branson, Lamesa Athletic Director. He says the policy also offers the opportunity for students to rehabilitate. "We just want the kids to know that if you've got a problem, we want you to get some help and we're here to help you,"
It's not just students on the field that are affected. Students participating in any extracurricular activities will be tested. "All the way from band, athletics to choirs, cheerleaders, student council," says Coach Branson.
The objectives of the plan are stated in the policy as follows:
"All we've done is we've given those parents another tool, a weapon in fighting drugs, no one wants their kids on drugs," says Coach Branson.
The parents we spoke to agreed. "Drug testing is something that needs to be here, I believe," comments Shawn Hatchett, parent of an LHS football player.
"If you're going to participate in sports and stuff like that I think they have every right to know what's going on and stuff," adds another parent, Roy Kunkel.
Coach Branson says his students aren't concerned about violation of privacy. "That's not really an issue with our kids, they've all said coach, I understand that and they've signed off on it, I'm real excited about the response especially from my athletes," he says.
"I think it's good for our athletic program, we need something to say not to, build on something positive," says LHS senior Bryan Brown.
The next step for Lamesa administrators is to implement the new drug policy by selecting a drug testing company and authorizing parental consent. We're told those measures will be taken within the next few weeks.