The Commerce Journal

Local News

June 14, 2013

Does drug testing work?

CISD Board of Trustees to vote on new drug testing policy

COMMERCE — In 2002, the United States Supreme Court voted in a 5-4 ruling to uphold a school district’s authority to randomly drug test students who engage in "competitive" extracurricular activities.

Since then, many districts have implemented policies that test various groups of students ranging from students who are only engaged in extracurricular activities, to the entire student body.

On June 17, Commerce Independent School District will vote on a drug testing policy that will test seventh through 12th grade students engaged in extracurricular activities, and students who drive to class this fall.

But, according to research from the University of Michigan, and the National Center for Education and Evaluation, drug testing may do more harm than good to the student body.

“Drug testing doesn’t lead to even a slight decrease in drug use,” Dr. Lavelle Hendricks, assistant professor of Psychology, Counseling and Special Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and an expert in the field of illegal drugs, said. “The research is questioning the validity of testing among students.”

The study, which was conducted over a four-year period and included 722 schools, showed that 36 percent of students admitted to using drugs in schools that did not have a drug testing policy, compared to 37 percent of student who admitted to using drugs in schools that did test.

With the use of synthetic drugs like K2 and bath salts on the rise, Hendricks said many students are able to pass drug tests because those drugs do not show up on a normal test, because it only tests for organic drugs such as marijuana.

“They should be testing for synthetic drugs,” he said. “But it is much more expensive to test for synthetic drugs.”

Hendricks said he respects and supports a school district’s code of conduct but said if policies are implemented, other forms of prevention and intervention need to be designed to help students.

“They need to have some type of professional counselor in the school district,” he said.

Also reportedly on the rise is the number of students using their parents’ prescription drugs without their parents’ knowledge.

Hendricks said parents need to be vigilant and pay attention to their children’s behavior at home.

Hendricks said there are six telltale signs of drug use: a change in friends, a change in mood, an unexplained loss of personal property, odd use of monies, low performance in academics and giving up extracurricular activities.

“Seek out treatment immediately when you see these changes in a child,” he said.

According to Hendricks, 80 percent of students who are caught using drugs in school will relapse within three weeks.

“It is difficult for school districts to find resources to test and to have treatment options for students,” he said. “We must provide some sort of treatment.”

Commerce ISD Superintendent Blake Cooper dicussed the potential policy during last month’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Before serving as superintendent at CISD, Cooper was principal in Edgewood, where he also implemented a drug testing policy. He said during the meeting that, at first, many of the parents had concerns about the system being truly random, but near the end of his tenure there he said most parents opted to have their children tested.

“The initial concern was that we were going to pick out certain students, but, by the time we left, 95 percent of kids were in the pool,” he said during the meeting. “Those parents used it to help their kid keep in line.”

Commerce ISD Superintendent Blake Cooper was unavailable for comment at press time.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Holocaust-Poster-2014-180x180.jpg Holocaust survivors to speak at A&M-Commerce

    Texas A&M University-Commerce students and community members will have a unique opportunity to hear firsthand from three Holocaust survivors their individual experiences, an opportunity that is becoming rarer by the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • DavidBrown.jpg Dallas Police Chief to speak at A&M-Commerce

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown will be on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus on April 25 to give a speech in the Traditions Room of the Rayburn Student Center.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • University to host Korean Consul-General

    Texas A&M University-Commerce will host a distinguished international politician today as former ambassador and Consul-General of the Republic of Korea Suk-Bum Park visits the campus.

    April 15, 2014

  • CR 1081 Damage 2.jpg Storm damages Hunt County

    Although Commerce was not struck by the series of tornadoes that occurred on April 3, it bore much of the impact of the severe weather caused by the storm cell. 

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Food pantry assists the ‘working poor’

    When Bread of Life Church of the Nazarene took over a monthly food pantry from Word of Life Church in Commerce, Pastor Jan Wilton told members of the Commerce Lions Club she felt a need to help the Commerce community.

    April 9, 2014

  • CR 1081 Damage 2.jpg Tornado bigger than first thought

    Additional details were released Monday about the size and intensity of last week’s tornado which struck northern Hunt County.

    April 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Drumming up some fun

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to be part of a drum line at a university?

    April 3, 2014

  • Teachers honored at Commerce board meeting

    The Commerce ISD Board of Trustees held open session on March 20 to recognize the achievements of the Commerce ISD Campus Teachers of the Year, as well as discuss the potential offering of non-core classes to students not enrolled in the district.

    April 1, 2014

  • Environmental project to beautify park

    As the drought continues in Texas, water conservation is a hot topic.

    March 31, 2014

  • Organization revamps Commerce Animal Shelter

    No-kill is love, according to Jennifer Caves.

    March 29, 2014

Featured Ads

Poll

What should be new A&M-C women's basketball coach Jason Burton's goals for the 2014-15 season?

Winning 10 games
Winning and LSC tournament game
His focus should be on recruiting/building the team, rather than immediate success
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide