Plainview ISD considers student drug testing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/19/09

Plainview ISD considers student drug testing

PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - A new drug testing policy was the topic of discussion for Plainview school board members Thursday evening. The board discussed random drug testing for students involved in extra-curricular activities.

Plainview could become one of the largest districts in the state to implement such a program. NewsChannel 11 spoke with school leaders about the proposal Thursday afternoon  "We know that there is a drug problem," Plainview Independent School District Superintendent Ron Miller tells us the district has used drug dogs for years, but last month a member of the school board wanted to learn more about random drug testing.

"It's not the entire student population," Miller said.  He says the current proposal would only test students in 7th through 12th grades who are involved in extra-curricular activities.  Extra-curricular activities would not be limited to just sports, band, or drama. School leaders tell us it would also include students who drive their cars to school.

"So, if someone drives a car and they're on the parking lot, that's an extra-curricular situation, because it's above being just a normal student sort of speak," Miller said.  The district did their homework before writing up a proposal.  "I've visited with 12 surrounding school districts, all the way from 1-A up to 5-A schools. I've found that most of the larger schools do not do this because of the cost that is involved with it," Plainview ISD Director of Operations Rick Garcia said. 

Garcia did find some smaller districts had implemented programs with success.  "It's been a deterrent," Garcia said.  If Plainview decides to initiate a drug testing policy, they would be one of the largest districts to do so.  "We would be one of the larger, and I would venture in the state," Garcia said. 

Testing would look for illicit drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamines, even prescription drugs. At $25 to $35 per test, the district estimates they would spend between $39,000 and $40,000 just to get started.  "What would happen, when you first implement a program like this, is all those students involved will be tested the first time," Miller said. 

Miller says the price tag is well worth the reward.  "One of the biggest things is to help them say no. That lets us be the bad guys with their peers, because if they want to participate, then that gives them a way that they can say no," Miller said. 

School board members only discussed the idea Thursday night.  If they chose to move forward, it will have to be placed on an agenda for consideration. We'll keep you updated.

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