The Bushland Independent School District officials have issued a statement, wherein they have said that students — from 7th to 12th grade — wishing to participate in school’s extracurricular activities will have to undergo a mandatory drug test to check for cannabis and alcohol.
The board added that the measure hasn’t been taken to combat a pre-existing drug problem but rather to encourage students to refrain from consuming the drug in the first place.
The policy reads that Bushland students will now be required to sign a consent form and appear for a saliva or urine test on any of 10 dates throughout the school year if they want to participate in theater, cheerleading, football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cross-country, track, powerlifting, choir, debate, chess, yearbook and student council.
If a student declines to be tested, they will be subject to the same repercussions as a positive test, which include:
- The student will not be allowed to participate in any of the extracurricular activities.
- They will be barred from receiving a parking permit at the school.
In a nutshell, a positive result will “affect a student’s participation” in school social events.
“They (the board) want to be proactive,” Bushland superintendent Chris Wigington told the local media. “They want our children to have a drug free environment; we want our children to make great decisions.” He further added that he considers extracurricular activities to be students’ “privileges not rights.”
However, the decision goes against the advice of many civil rights and educational organizations. The National Education Association has even gone on to say that such compulsory testing is “an unconstitutional and unwarranted invasion of privacy.” On similar grounds, The American Academy of Pediatrics also has shown its disapproval for the measure, citing other issues like ” mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results, deterioration in the student-school relationship and confidentiality of students’ medical records.”
The measure comes amid the changes that the state is making towards its legal approach towards marijuana. Only recently, Tarrant County dismissed more than 200 marijuana-related misdemeanors in the wake of the legalization of hemp and CBD products in the state that made previous drug tests — which were unable to tell the difference between marijuana and hemp-related products — unreliable.
Notably, a positive drug test will not invite “disciplinary sanctions or academic penalties,” and the results will only be disclosed to the student’s family and district officials.