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Huffman approves drug testing

HUFFMAN— Middle and high school students in Huffman ISD, who participate in extracurricular activities, may have to pass a drug test to stay active.

This week, the Huffman school board approved a policy of random drug testing for students in grades seven through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities, or who drive district vehicles.

Under the policy, students involved in activities such as athletics, cheerleading, UIL academic contests, band, dance team and FFA would be placed in a pool where names would be drawn at random through the year for testing.

Steve Myers, district superintendent, said that they expect to test between 40 and 80 students a month. The district estimates about 800 names would go into the pool. Over the course of the year, roughly half of these students will likely be tested, although since the names are drawn randomly it is possible a student may be tested more than once a year. Rather than test all eligible students initially, Myers said they will begin the random testing pools at the beginning of the fall semester.

Currently, the district uses Pinnacle Testing for its employee testing. While they will not be required to use the same company for students, Myers said they are discussing the policy with the company.

While they don’t have the exact costs confirmed, Myers said that he has asked for $15,000 in the budget for the testing. Barbers Hill ISD, which has used random testing since 2002 and has approximately the same number of students as Huffman, spent $15,725 last year. This works out to $18.50 per test.

Proponents of testing say that the policy is not aimed at catching students who use drugs or alcohol but serves as a tool to help students “just say no.” Opponents have questioned the legality of testing saying it violated Constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. However, in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that compelling students to submit to the tests did not violate Constitutional protection. This Court further stipulated that this decision only applies to students involved in extracurricular activities or those who submit voluntarily. The district cannot legally compel all students to submit to random drug testing.