La Vernia Independent School District Drug Testing Policy Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the drug testing policy?
The District has a vital interest in maintaining a safe, secure, and healthy learning environment for all of its students. We know that the use of illegal drugs poses a serious health and safety risk to the user, those associated with the user, and potentially to the public. By adopting a random drug testing policy, the District desires to: 1) Send a message that the District cares about our students’ health, safety, and character, 2) undermine the effects of negative peer pressure by providing a legitimate reason for students to refuse to use illegal drugs; 3) deter students from drug use; 4) prevent injury, illness, or harm to students that may arise related to drug use; 5) encourage students who use drugs to receive help and participate in drug treatment programs; and 6) educate students regarding the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use.
Who is subject to drug testing?
Any student in grades 7-12 who chooses to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities or chooses to park a vehicle on school property.
When and how often will students be tested?
The policy permits “Random Testing” throughout the school year. The Random Testing window will open the first day of school and occur at intervals determined by administration throughout the school year.
What if a student is absent the date they are selected for Random Testing?
A student who is absent on a date they are selected for Random Testing will be tested on the next date Random Testing is conducted.
Why aren’t we conducting drug testing on teachers, faculty, and coaches?
The district may drug test employees in two situations - 1) if the District has a reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence, or 2) if the employee is in a safety-sensitive position. An employee in a safety-sensitive position is one in which the employee handles potentially dangerous equipment or hazardous substances in an environment including a large number of children (e.g. custodians, a coach that drives a bus to a game). However, this does not apply to your regular transportation employees (those holding a CDL), as they are subject to their own set of regulations and drug testing schedule.
What about a student who joins an extracurricular activity during a school year?
In the event a student joins an extracurricular activity or seeks to park on school property after the start of the school year, the student’s name will be entered into the pool for random drug testing, at that time.
Who will conduct the testing?
The District is contracting with Pinnacle Medical Management Corporation to provide student drug testing services. Employees of that company will randomly select students for each cycle from a list provided by the District administration and sponsors using a computerized system. They will come to La Vernia ISD to collect the samples and then process them at their lab.
How will the samples be collected?
Upon the testing entity’s arrival at school, the randomly selected student names will be given to the designated school official, who will arrange for these students to report to the collection area. The names of selected students will not be called over the public address system.
Students will be tested in an isolated facility under the supervision of a school official of the same sex who will assist the testing entity representative. Students will provide a urine sample in a restroom or other private facility behind a closed stall. Neither the supervising school official nor the testing entity representative will directly observe the students providing their urine sample. Facilities are secure with only one student testing at a time.
The urine sample will be collected in a sealed specimen collection container provided by the testing entity. The students will provide the collected sample to the testing entity representative and the supervising school official will confirm that the student’s identification information on the sample is correct. The specimen collection container will be sealed and witnessed by the student. The testing entity representative will send all tamper proof specimens to the laboratory for analysis.
What substances are we testing for?
The district reserves the right to test for any and all illegal or controlled substances as determined at the discretion of the District. These can include, but are not limited to, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, barbiturates, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, methadone, opiates, ecstasy, alcohol and phencyclidine.
What happens if a student tests positive for a prohibited substance?
Whenever a student’s test result indicates the presence of a prohibited substance identified in this policy, the parent or guardian will be contacted by an MRO employed by the testing entity within 3-5 school days of receiving the positive test result.
The MRO will confer with a parent or guardian and determine if there is a medical explanation for the positive test result. If the medical explanation is verified by the MRO, the test result will be reported as negative. However, without verification by the MRO, a confirmed positive test result will be reported to the designated school official within one school day of conferring with the student’s parent or guardian.
If the MRO is unable to contact the parent or guardian within one school day, the MRO will ask the designated school official for help in locating the student’s parent or guardian. This request in no way implies a positive test result. The designated school official should only assume that the MRO has questions for the student’s parent or guardian.
The MRO may use quantitative results to determine if positive results on repeat testing indicate recent use of illegal drugs or the natural decline of levels of the illegal drugs or the natural decline of levels of the illegal drug from the body. If the MRO feels the quantitative levels do not reflect current use, then a negative result may be reported.
Upon receiving notice from the MRO that a student has a confirmed positive test result, the designated school official will contact the student and parents to discuss the consequences of the positive test result.
What are the consequences for a confirmed positive test?
Upon the first confirmed positive test, a student will be suspended from any extracurricular activity and have his/her parking privileges suspended for a period of three (3) school weeks following the date the student and parent are notified of the test results. The student will be required to successfully complete four (4) hours of substance abuse counseling and have a negative (clean) test result following the three school week suspension. He or she will then need to request to be reinstated. Students may be allowed to practice at the discretion of the campus administrator and club sponsor or coach.
For a second confirmed positive test, the suspension will be for a period of six (6) school weeks. The student will not be allowed to participate (including practice) in any extracurricular activity, or park on campus during the period of suspension. He or she must complete an additional six hours of substance abuse counseling and have a negative (clean) test result following the six week suspension. He or she will then need to request to be reinstated.
Consequences (to include parking privileges) continue to accumulate for each offense. Refer to the LVISD Extracurricular Code of Conduct for additional information.
What if a student refuses to submit to a random test?
A student who refuses to be tested when selected or who is determined to have tampered with a sample will be deemed to have a positive test result and shall be subject to the appropriate consequences depending on previous positive test results, if any. If a student is absent on the day of the random test, a sample will be collected on the next random testing date.
A parent or student may appeal a positive result in accordance with District Policy FNG (Local) governing student and parent complaints. Consequences established in this drug testing policy will not be deferred pending the completion of the appeal process.
Who will have access to test results, and will they be used for other purposes?
Drug-testing results are to be confidential and will only be disclosed to the student, the student's parents, and designated District officials who need the information in order to administer the drug testing program. Drug test results will not become a part of the student's academic record, and results will not be otherwise disclosed except as required by law.