Southlake-Carroll ISD plans to implement random drug testing

Parents can now sign their students up to be randomly drug tested in the Southlake-Carroll school district.

About 30 parents showed up Carroll ISD’s informational session Wednesday night. They had lots of questions and concerns about the program, which starts later this month.

When Carroll ISD students return to school after Spring Break, some will need to be prepared to pass a new kind of test.

Administrators briefed parents on a new voluntary random drug testing program for students in grades 7-12. What makes this drug testing program unique is in order for a student to participate, their parent or guardian must sign them up. If a student is 18, they must consent.

“This really is a program to educate and help parents to provide them with resources and help kids avoid a lifetime of addiction,” said Julie Thannum with the school district. “It gives them a reason to say no and really to educate them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.”

The two-year pilot program is modeled after one at Keller ISD. A district spokeswoman says their volunteer drug testing program is in its tenth year with 66 percent of students participating.

Thannum is hoping for similar results. She says up to ten percent of participating students will be randomly selected for each of the six surprise test dates. The students will provide a urine sample at the school.

“It’s no more intrusive then going into a regular restroom,” she said. “The restroom is prepared beforehand by the lab assistant to make sure that the specimen is pure in there is no way that the student could alter the specimen in any way.”

A positive test will require a mandatory meeting between district officials, the student and their parent. Thannum says test results will not be used to impose disciplinary action or criminal prosecution, but students will be subject to consequences in accordance with the student code of conduct.

At the informational meeting held at Carroll Middle School, parents got a chance to ask questions and weigh in.

“I’m torn,” said parent Matt Coburn. “I think anytime we’re dealing with that type of subject matter, the more we know the better. So I appreciate what they’re doing. They’re trying to get the parents involved get connected with the students and make sure we get ahead of the game and that we’re aware of what’s going on.”

If a parent decides they no longer want their child to participate in the program, they can revoke their consent at any time.