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Most local school districts do not require drug testing for teachers

Drug testing policies for teachers

Most school districts in the Borderland do not require teachers to take drug tests when they are hired or throughout their employment.

On Monday, a Las Cruces elementary school teacher was arrested for child abuse and drug possession after her son was found to have meth in his system. Las Cruces Public Schools told KFOX14 it does not require a drug test for teachers unless there is reasonable suspicion that something is wrong. Instead, new hires only have to submit to a background check.

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department, these policies are dependent on the district.

“Drug testing requirements are up to districts and vary accordingly. However, drug tests for bus drivers are required for the commercial driver’s license process,” said Lida Alikhani, a spokesperson for the agency.

The same is true for the state of Texas.

“There is no state policy or requirement on drug-testing school district employees. That is a decision that is based on the local level and determined by the local school board and administration,” said DeEtta Culbertson, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency.

Culbertson said the agency does not have the authority to mandate or require districts to implement drug testing policies.

KFOX14 checked in with the different school districts around El Paso and found that they have varying policies.

Socorro Independent School District

Employees are not required to take a drug test upon being hired. Only bus drivers are required to go through routine testing, according to the district.

Bus drivers are also required to take a drug test after an accident.

Ysleta Independent School District

Drug tests are given to some employees when they are hired. They include: all ancillary, support, safety sensitive and administrative positions.

After a person is hired, the district says it only conducts drug tests when “reasonable suspicion is evident or through random drug testing for safety sensitive positions,” a district spokesperson said in a statement.

Bus drivers are also required to take drug tests to comply with Department of Transportation regulations and after an accident.

Gadsden Independent School District

No drug test is required for employees when they are hired and there are no routine tests.

El Paso Independent School District

No drug test is given to employees when they are hired, according to the district. The only time the district gives drug tests is when there is reasonable suspicion.

District rules prohibit employees from using or distributing controlled substances.

Bus drivers are also required to take drug tests to comply with Department of Transportation regulations and after an accident.

Canutillo Independent School District

Employees are asked to submit to a drug test upon hire and there is random drug testing.

“The district conducts random drug/alcohol testing, in accordance with federal laws, of commercial motor vehicle operators for use of alcohol or a controlled substance that violates law or federal regulation,” the CISD employee handbook reads.

Bus drivers are also required to take drug tests to comply with Department of Transportation regulations and after an accident.

“No driver will refuse to submit to a post-accident alcohol or controlled substances test, a random alcohol or controlled substances test, a reasonable suspicion alcohol or controlled substances test, or a follow-up alcohol or controlled substances test. The district will not permit a driver who refuses to submit to such tests to perform or continue to perform safety-sensitive functions,” the CISD handbook said.

Las Cruces Public Schools

No drug test is given to employees when they are hired and there is no routine drug testing, according to the district.

A spokesperson for LCPS said the district only does these tests when there is reasonable suspicion that the employee is using illegal substances.

However, new hires must submit to a background check.

Parents KFOX14 spoke with were surprised that teachers are not required to take a drug test.

“I mean, you don't know if the teachers are coming with the right set of mind because you don't know if they're doing drugs or not because you're not even testing them,” mother of three Cielo Herrera said. “A lot of other jobs they do spontaneous drug testing and that's the policy in most places. They should have that especially in schools responsible for these children.”

Others said they would like to see the drug testing policy for employees change to happen routinely.

“It should definitely be routine because they are with kids every day and so it should be a must,” said father of three Timothy Wholeben.

Culbertson said parents who are worried about their schools should speak to the district about its policies.

“If parents are concerned, if they're thinking this is a policy that should be implemented in their school district, then they need to contact the local administration with local school board members and voice those concerns,” Culbertson said.

Tornillo Independent School District

District officials said no employees are given a drug test when hired and employees are not routinely drug tested.

We reached out to the Fabens school district to ask about their policies but we did not hear back.


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