Georgetown district to resume student drug testing program


This fall, the Georgetown school district will resume drug testing students who participate in extracurricular activities.

School officials said restoring the program, one of the first to get axed in tough financial times in 2011, was important because it gives students who could be randomly tested one more reason to say no.

“This is just one part of our district’s overall effort to teach kids about the dangers of illicit drugs,” said Superintendent Joe Dan Lee. “Our education efforts begin in elementary school and are reinforced until the time a student graduates.”

Drug testing costs vary, depending on the type of tests administered and their frequency. In Georgetown, costs amount to approximately $17 per student, if each student is tested once, and other districts have paid about $25 per student. Districts have reported relatively few positive tests, leading some to question whether it is worth the expense, but proponents say such programs are worth it if even one student is deterred from using.

The Georgetown district began its drug testing program in 2006, but discontinued it after the state made $4 billion in funding cuts to public education in two years.

The Legislature recently restored $3.4 billion, prompting districts across the state to reinstate programs and personnel previously cut. Georgetown will get $1.8 million of the $7.2 million cut.

Georgetown joins San Marcos in reinstating student drug testing. Last year, San Marcos brought back its program after coaches and community members told the athletic director that student drug use had increased after the district discontinued the program. Bastrop, which had a program since 1997, in the past couple of years also discontinued its program because of state budget cuts to public education.

While the majority of Central Texas school districts, including Austin and Round Rock, don’t have drug testing programs, a few other districts have adopted them. The Leander school district has had a voluntary student drug testing program since 1999 in which parents must opt in to have their children tested. Elgin began random drug testing in 2010 for middle and high school students in extracurricular activities.

This year, Georgetown will scale back its program and test only students in high school. The district has budgeted $50,000 of its $81.8 million budget for the program. Approximately 3,400 students could be affected. In previous years, the district spent $175,000, but also included middle school students in extracurricular activities for the tests, and also tested students more frequently.

In the 2010-11 school year, the last time the district tested students, there were eight test positives out of 3,000 tested.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Georgetown police: Man has harassed Sun City residents since 2016
Georgetown police: Man has harassed Sun City residents since 2016

Georgetown police are searching for a man who has been harassing Sun City residents for more than two years, even walking into their homes at night and standing at the foot of their beds until they wake up, a police spokesman said. Sun City is a retirement community with several thousand homes in Georgetown. The man has been involved in at least 50...
Former MLB athlete Kelly Wayne Gruber arrested in Austin on DWI charge
Former MLB athlete Kelly Wayne Gruber arrested in Austin on DWI charge

Former Major League Baseball athlete Kelly Wayne Gruber was arrested in Austin on a DWI charge Saturday, records show. Gruber, 56, was a two-time All-Star while playing baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1984 to 1992. As a teenager, Gruber played baseball for Westlake High School.  An Austin officer pulled Gruber over after noticing...
Police: Man attacked, cut person he thought was behind home invasion
Police: Man attacked, cut person he thought was behind home invasion

An Austin man is accused of cutting an apartment resident with a machete because he thought the victim was involved in a home invasion, according to an arrest affidavit released this week. Samuel Diaz-Parra, 58, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail. The attack happened...
Temple physician arrested for child porn, Texas Medical Board says

TEMPLE Texas Medical Board: Physician arrested for child porn The Texas Medical Board on Monday suspended the license of Temple physician John Middlemiss Palmer after he was arrested on child porn charges. “The Board panel found that on or about April 18, 2018, Dr. Palmer was charged with possession of child pornography by the Texas Attorney...
Jury weighs murder charge in Austin stabbing death of Daniel Spencer
Jury weighs murder charge in Austin stabbing death of Daniel Spencer

A Travis County jury began deliberating Monday evening in the murder trial of 67-year-old James Robert Miller Jr., who is accused of fatally stabbing 32-year-old Daniel Spencer in September 2015. Miller’s attorney says it was self-defense. Spencer was killed at his home early on the morning of Sept. 21, after inviting Miller to his house to play...
More Stories