Bushland Independent School District in Texas has recently announced its decision to introduce mandatory drug testing for students as young as 12 years old. The new policy, set to be implemented during the 2019-2020 school year, will require drug tests for students in grades seven through 12 who participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, KVII-TV reported.
Maintaining Student Safety Through Drug Testing
Despite not having a known drug problem, the Bushland Independent School District believes that implementing drug testing is a proactive measure to ensure the safety and well-being of its students. Assistant Superintendent Angie Watson stated, “We’re just trying to be proactive and provide them with a reason to refrain from engaging in drug use.”
The school board approved the development of this policy a few months ago, and it was publicly released by district officials last week. The drug testing policy will affect approximately 700 students within the district, located just west of Amarillo. To cover the costs, a budget allocation of a few thousand dollars was set aside this year, and random follow-up testing will also be conducted to ensure compliance.
Scope of the Drug Testing Program
Under this new policy, administrators will screen for seven specific substances, including alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and opioids. As per data provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, public schools were granted broader authority to conduct drug testing on middle and high school students participating in extracurricular programs after a 2002 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Drug Testing in Texas School Districts
The implementation of drug testing policies is not unique to the Bushland Independent School District. Several other Texas school districts have similar programs to ensure student welfare and discourage drug use among their student bodies.