How Jacksonville Schools Test Students for Drugs - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/19/02 - Jacksonville

How Jacksonville Schools Test Students for Drugs

"[It] gives students an out, gives them a way to say, 'I can't do this.'"

Jacksonville ISD Superintendent Charles Bertrand says drug testing of students in extracurricular activities give them the chance to "just say no."

It's been going on for about six years in every UIL activity. Random students are chosen by computer, 15 high school names and 5 middle school names at a time.

Athletic trainer Jeff Shrode is charged with making sure the tests are fair and accurate. They're done at various times, but on average every few weeks.

"No one knows besides myself and the lab who's going to get tested, until I call the names into the office and they come out of class," Shrode says.

The urine tests are for numerous drugs... from alcohol, to marijuana, to cocaine. A first offense means a 30-day suspension from competition, and a substance abuse evaluation--possibly counseling.  Plus, they can be examined at any time in all future testing sessions.

On the second offense, a 60-day suspension.

Third time, they're out. 

The school says there are very few offenses now compared to the program's early days. And the Superintendent says parents and students have been positive.

"The more the children are involved, the more the parents are involved in the situation." says Superintendent Bertrand.

Plus, the more the school can say it's on a level playing field.

"We're not on a witchhunt, we're not out to get anyone. We're out to make sure we run a clean program."

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