In one Texas school district, seventh graders looking to join the chess team will now need to make sure they test clean for alcohol and cannabis. Bushland Independent School District officials say that the decision to enforce mandatory drug testing for seventh to 12th graders hoping to participate in extracurriculars is not to combat a pre-existing drug problem, but rather to prevent kids from trying drugs in the first place.
“The board wants to be proactive,” Bushland superintendent Chris Wigington told a local ABC affiliate. “They want our kids to have a drug free environment, we want our kids to make great decisions.” He told reporters that he considers extracurricular activities to be students’ “privileges not rights.”
The decision goes against the advice of many educational and civil rights organizations. The National Education Association has stated that such mandatory drug and alcohol testing is “an unwarranted and unconstitutional invasion of privacy.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has also cautioned against the practice, citing “deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.” The ACLU is likewise opposed.
Many of those groups have noted that participating in extracurriculars