Weslaco ISD drug testing requirement raising questions
The Weslaco Independent School District is taking an extra step toward drug awareness, but that effort is raising questions within the community.
Before stepping on the gridiron, calling out a cheer or getting ready to play an instrument, Weslaco ISD students in extra-curricular or UIL activities are now required to be tested for drugs with the consent of a parent.
"These are the kids that are in the limelight every single day and so we expect them to be good role models at all times,” said Weslaco ISD Athletic Director Oscar Riojas.
The policy also applies to students requesting a parking permit, but the initiative stems from the district's coffee and connections meetings where the administration went to every school to hear the concerns of parents.
“One of them that kept coming up was some type of preventive program of drug awareness,” said Riojas.
From there, Weslaco ISD formed a committee to research what other school districts had in place.
Although parents understand the policy, some feel everyone should be held accountable.
"I see the point that people are making when they say look, if you want to test our children, then I think it's only fair that everybody get tested all the way to the top,” said Luis Sanchez, whose kids are in extra-curricular activities at Weslaco ISD.
These concerns were brought up to Israel Coronado, who launched the “Make Weslaco Drain Again”, a campaign following the June floods.
However, the Facebook page has been used as a platform for people to voice issues beyond drainage.
So, Coronado started the #livebyexamplechallenge, inviting candidates running for city office and school board to be drug tested.
"Red Ribbon Week is coming up and we spend a lot of money on resources in teaching children to live drug free,” said Coronado. “So, what better way then have our leaders come forth.”
"He called out some high-level people and you know I think only two people showed up, that, to me is alarming,” said Sanchez.
The tests were funded by donations from the community as Coronado started a Go Fund Me page where they $650 in donations.
Now, parents hope leaders will step up to the plate.
Any student who has provided consent to random testing has a right at the time of testing to refuse. However, they will automatically be considered to have a positive test, which means they will be removed from extra-curricular activities and lose parking privileges.