The Principal at Commerce High School had high remarks for the Commerce Independent School District’s new drug testing policy, saying that it acted as an effective deterrent in its first year.
The program, which was approved by district Trustees in August of 2018, replaced a five-year-old policy which board members said was not effective in serving its intended purpose. The new policy was for students in grades 7 through 12.
All students who participate in activities representing CISD and all who have parking privileges were entered into a testing pool along with students who’s parents gave the district permission to test them.
Testing was done for a long list of illicit substances, including amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabinoids and more.
At the time of its passing, CISD Superintendent Charlie Alderman said that the program was “basically rewritten” from the ground up, saying that the program is more focused on counseling and getting help but still carries a punitive measure.
CHS Principal Steve Drummond said that he saw visible results from the testing.
“The program was an effective measure to give students another reason to say no to drugs,” Drummond said. “It takes the peer pressure off of a student.”
Drummond said that roughly 300 students were tested, and the number of positives was low.
“The testers told us to expect a rate of about seven to 10 percent positives,” Drummond said. “We had less than one percent.”
On first offense, students participating in co-curricular activities will be suspended from those activities for 14 days, and parking privileges will be lost for 60 days. A required 12 hours of community service must be completed, as well as a drug counseling program.
A second offense will suspend the student from outside activities and parking privileges for six months, as well as incur 40 hours of community service.
A third offense will carry a suspension from activities and privileges for one calendar year.
Drummond applauded the counseling measures included in the program, saying that it gives students an opportunity to get back on the straight and narrow.
“I want our school and community to know that they are represented by kids who are drug free,” Drummond said.
The full testing policy can be found online at https://bit.ly/2SUcWbH.