By Sarah Snyder
By the time the Reagan County Owls head out for football, cheerleading, and band practice this August, they may be taking a new kind of test. 20 percent of students in Big Lake may be chosen for random drug testing.
"We're being proactive before we have to be reactive," Marshall Harrison, Superintendent of the Reagan County Independent School District, said.
Last week, the Reagan County ISD Board of Trustees adopted a random drug testing policy for grades 7-12.
"It's a way to decrease negative peer pressure and provide a safe environment for kids," Harrison said.
Each month, about 70-80 students will be tested on campus. This isn't just for extracurriculars, before a student can get a parking pass, they have to sign a testing consent form, too.
"It's any type of competitive activity and it's also because driving on campus is a privilege, it's not a right and we put it in the same boat as that," Harrison said.
Many board members, and even the Sheriff, have children in Reagan County schools.
"Visiting with those folks, that's very positive, and any decisions made at school you're going to have people look at it either way, but as a district overall we're looking at it from every child's perspective, and we just feel like it's a very positive thing," Harrison said.
Superintendent Harrison says students testing positive will be enrolled in a drug awareness program.
"This isn't a gotcha policy," Harrison said. "It's a situation where we can help the parents and kids."
Reagan County administration says this is an affordable prevention method. The total cost is about $10,000.