From staff reports
A new drug testing policy, approved last spring by the Mineral Wells ISD school board, will kick in for the first time beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
The new policy will install random, drug-testing procedures and is intended to deter students from using illegal drugs and alcohol, and to better enforce a drug-free educational environment for MWISD students.
It will effect any students in grades seven through 12 who represents the district in University Interscholastic League extracurricular activities, competitions or community-service events. Students who are involved with school-sponsored clubs and organizations and high school students wishing to park a vehicle on campus during the school day must comply with the testing policy.
“Early last year, our school board requested that I research student random drug testing,” MWISD Superintendent Gail Haterius explained of the new policy. “Our School Health Advisory Committee did so and helped develop a policy that we hope will serve as a deterrent to discourage students from using illegal drugs.”
“One of our school board members expressed the feelings of the board well when he said, ‘If this testing keeps one kid off of drugs, it will be worth it,’” she added. “We are always concerned about the development and safety of all of our students and we are hopeful that this new policy will work in conjunction with other programs that we have to help keep our students safe.”
All students who need to comply with the policy must attend a mandatory student orientation session and submit a consent form, signed by their parent or legal guardian prior to competition, school representation and issuance of a high school parking permit. Orientation sessions will explain the drug-testing program, review the policy and consent form and provide an educational presentation on the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
High School students taking part in fall UIL sports competitions or in organizations representing the school – such as band, choir, cheerleading and drill team – will be notified by their head coach, director or sponsor regarding their scheduled orientation session times.
Students who do not participate in any high school activities, yet need to attend a student orientation session to receive a parking permit, may do so on the following dates and times in the high school library: Monday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug 13 at 10 a.m.
Sessions will last approximately 30 minutes. The district advises that attending these sessions will prevent delays in the issuance of parking permits when students pick up their class schedules.
Students unable to attend either of these orientation sessions will be required to attend a session when they pick up their class schedule at the high school on the following dates and times:
• Seniors and juniors scheduled pick-up – Aug. 14, 1-4 p.m.
• Sophomores, Aug. 15, 1-4 p.m.
• Freshmen, Aug. 16, 1-4 p.m.
Parents of high school students may attend any of these planned orientation sessions if they desire to learn more about the testing program, but parent attendance is not mandatory.