Drug testing to begin for students involved in extracurricular activities in Texas school district

BUSHLAND, Texas -- A school district in the Texas Panhandle will begin drug testing students as young as 12 years old who are interested in playing sports or participating in other extracurricular offerings.

The Bushland Independent School District, near Amarillo, says students in grades seven through 12 will be tested beginning with the resumption of classes next month. They must pass the drug test before they're approved for extracurricular activities.

The testing also applies for students who want to park on school property.

The district sent home a letter, explaining the key points of the program, which state:

-Students will be tested at the beginning of each school year.

-Screenings may include alcohol and numerous illegal drugs.

-Students will be subject to testing each year that they are participating in any extracurricular activity or wanting to park on campus.

-Random testing will occur as often as 10 times during the school year.

-Testing will take place in a confidential location at the school. Only the student, the student's parents, and designated district officials will receive the confidential results.

-Students won't be notified ahead of time about the testing.

-Students will be required to provide a saliva sample.

-If a student refuses to provide the saliva sample, they will be deemed to have a positive test result.

-Students who test positive will receive the consequences listed in the school policy. They must pass an additional drug test before they can participate in activities again.

Students must sign a consent form before they're eligible to participate in any extracurricular activities such as football, band or chess.

You can read the full drug testing policy in its entirety by going to the Bushland ISD website and clicking the "District Information" link at the top of the page. The full letter to students and their parents, along with the consent form, can be found here.

Bushland ISD Superintendent Chris Wigington told KVII the district does not have a drug problem but the school board wants to be "proactive" and ensure that students "have a drug-free environment."

He notes that administrators don't want to hurt a student's academic standing so there will be no suspensions for a positive test result.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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