The old policy had “no teeth,” School Supt. Rick Albritton told trustees. The new policy regulates students’ ability to represent the school in sports, band, drill team, UIL academic contests, choir, Air Force Jr. ROTC, drama, cheerleading, and FFA.
Under certain conditions, students could be barred from participating in contests for a time..
The new policy provides the school will give at least six random drug tests per school year, but “we expect to do 12—(one) every three weeks,” Albritton said. The testing will be for drugs for which students have “no valid prescription from a licensed physician,” the new policy states.
It also stipulates that when students test positive, or show “indication of the presence of drugs,” the parent or guardian will be notified. Then “Retesting shall be required at each subsequent random testing regime, for a minimum of one calendar year from the date of receipt of the test result. Retesting shall occur in three weeks following receipt and notice of a positive test. Test results must show a reduction in drug levels.”
The pupil must also attend a subatance abuse counseling session or sessions, as determined by a certified counselor chosen by Gilmer ISD. The student has 30 calendar days to complete the program and furnish proof of completion to the school.
“Failure to provide proof of completion shall result in loss of participation eligibility until proof of completion is provided to the District drug testing coordinator,” the policy states. “Students may participate in practices but no game participations until a drug test showng a reduction in drug levels is presented.”
In addition, the policy says “Students refusing to be tested or whose parents refuse to consent to testing shall not be permitted to represent the District in any extracurricular activity or to operate a motor vehicle on District property.”
The student may be reinstated for participation after a 30-day waiting period if tested at the parents’ expense, a negative test result is received, and proof of the test is provided after the 30 days.
Board Member Todd Tefteller, an attorney, noted that courts have ruled that schools can’t randomly test all students for drugs, but can test those in extracurricular activities. He joined Trustees Gloria King, Ken Southwell, Mark Skinner, and Jeff Rash in approving the new policy (Trustees Mark Tackett and Diedra Camp were absent.)
Albrittion said the Texas Assn. of School Boards had approved the new policy.