At Monday’s Stephenville ISD board of trustees meeting a public hearing on the proposed drug testing policy was conducted with two community members taking the podium, one being Laurie Gillispie who had some convincing comments in favor of the policy.
Gillispie works with the Erath County District Attorney’s office and has had two children grow up attending Stephenville ISD.
“This is a wonderful district, but talking to parents, teachers and students, we have a drug problem here and the issue is what are we willing to do about it,” she said.
Working closely with drug cases through the DA’s office, Gillispie said it’s heartbreaking to see the drug-related offenses.
“If we can stop it at the high school level, I think we owe it to the kids to do that,” she said.
Gillispie added that if a student does test positive for drug use, she does not think they should immediately be suspended, but helped.
“If we can save one kid from going down that road, it’s worth it,” she said. “The thing to do is to step up and say, ‘Yes we have a problem, what are we going to do about it?’”
The second commenter to take the podium was Mitch Holstein, who works in emergency services, and is not against drug testing at SISD but did have a question about the proposed policy.
“My question is why are we just limiting the drug testing to the kids who participate in extracurricular activities? If we feel the need that drug testing is something we need to move forward with, why not do the entire student body?” Holstein asked the board.
To answer Holstein’s question, Superintendent Matt Underwood replied by saying legally only students who participate in extracurricular activities can be subjected to drug testing.
Underwood explained that the policy released is a draft, but is the one he recommends.
“The logistics of the testing is what we’re trying to work through because it’s a pretty big job to make sure (students) are supervised throughout the testing, and then the cost,” Underwood said. “At some point we just kind of need to start and then if we have some bumps in the road we’ll try to iron them out along the way.”
No action was taken on the drug testing policy at Monday's meeting.