LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Trustees at an East Texas school district could offer free, in-house counseling to student athletes who fail drug tests.
All students who take part in extra-curricular activities at Longview I.S.D. must pass random drug screenings. If drugs are detected in a student's body, she or he is suspended from extra-curricular participation.
LISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach John King says his district hasn't provided counseling to students who fail drug screenings in about a decade, after a loss in federal funding for the program.
Under a plan King proposed Monday to school trustees, any student who fails a test could sign up for counseling on campus with Jim Bowie, LISD's dual credit and career/technology director who is also a licensed professional counselor. The counseling would be at no cost to students, and sessions would be scheduled during the student's activity period when she or he usually takes part in their extra-curricular activity.
Currently, parents who want counseling for their child must find a licensed professional counselor on their own and pay for it out of their own pocket, King says.
"Being involved in extra-curricular activities requires a commitment, you know, and there's going to be peer pressure that student athletes, band members, R.O.T.C. students are going to face out on the streets away from school," King says, "and we're just trying to use this as, you know, something that's going to deter them from using drugs and doing things."
Trustees have been asked to increase the district's budget for drug testing by $1,000 to pay for educational materials such as books for the counseling sessions. The district is currently working on it's proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year.