The past

LISD revisits drug testing history

December 16, 2020

The idea of drug testing in LISD schools isn’t new. In April 2008, LISD implemented a plan to collect urine samples from students who were involved in extracurricular activities at school or parked on campus. The test detected drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, prescription painkillers, phencyclidine, sedatives and stimulants.

Current LISD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers was the principal at the time. Although Rogers is not against drug testing students at home and tested his own kids when they were in high school, he does not support it in a school setting.

“It has nothing to do with my total objection to drug testing,” Rogers said. “It has to do with the logistics of doing it at school… School is really more about education, not about asking kids to give me a urine sample.”

According to Rogers, a computer generated list from one of two companies LISD worked with — Pinnacle Medical Management and Forward Edge — randomly chose 75 students for testing every week for the rest of the 2007-2008 school year. That number was lowered to 48 students per week in fall 2008. The students were pulled out of class and escorted to the auditorium bathroom, where they had to provide a urine sample while an assistant principal waited outside of the stall.

“It’s inappropriate to ask our staff to be standing… outside the stall, waiting for one of our students to provide a urine specimen,” Rogers said.

If a student tested positive, their urine was retested to confirm the results. Testing positive during a drug test resulted in a student being suspended from competitive extracurricular activities and losing their parking privileges. With each positive result, the punishment increased, from three weeks for the first test and a full year for the third. Students who tested positive more than once were also required to participate in counseling.

However, Rogers said that there was a low positive rate among students, partially because some students who were using drugs avoided the test by not participating in extracurriculars and parking in nearby neighborhoods instead of on campus. He believes that keeping students parked on campus is more important than urine samples when it comes to preventing drug use, as the district’s drug dogs can detect substances in cars.

“We’re less likely to catch them versus if we allow them to park on school property with a sticker and our drug dog detects something,” Rogers said.

Controversy about the random drug testing also rose among students and parents at the time. Hundreds of LISD high school students signed an online petition against the testing. In 2008, former student Morgan Anderson, then a freshman, told The Marquee that random drug testing was a violation of students’ rights.

“I think it’s that they’re not giving us a choice or a say in the matter,” Anderson said. “You’re going to get punished if you don’t do it. I don’t know what happened to innocent until proven guilty.”

Some parents also expressed concern about the district’s plans during a meeting on March 8, 2008.

“What’s next? The city of Flower Mound pulls me over and says ‘I’m going to test you because you’re driving on the street?’” one parent said during the meeting.

The issues the school faced inspired Rogers to recommend that random drug testing in LISD schools be put to a stop. This was approved by the school board and superintendent in 2010, ending the two year program.

“The expense, what we felt like was the ineffectiveness as far as making a difference, the logistical nightmare, it was a combination of all those things as to why we recommended stopping it,” Rogers said.

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