LTHS Drug Testing Here…But is it Effective

LTHS Drug Testing Here...But is it Effective

Beckett Larcher, Reporter

What once seemed as an annoyance that we didn’t have to worry about until the far future, and last year’s seniors excitement and mockery of narrowly missing the mark has now hit us in the face, drug testing. It is no secret that Lake Travis has had and still does have a history with drugs. Whether it being from snapchat updates from ‘party conglomerates’ or simply hearing stories in passing about someone’s drug-infused weekend, drugs have been ingrained in the culture at Lake Travis. Attempts at changing this toxic portion of the culture have been unsuccessful, whether it being the old version of Leader for Life which was expensive and ineffective, the school district has now implemented a new more coercive installment of Leader for Life. In order to participate in mostly any school-based program, or even simply park at school grounds, one must be enrolled in the program. In both my opinion and what I have observed on campus, the program falls to the faults of its predecessor, students who use simply skip around anything that could get them tested, which allows for the majority of the using population to continue using rendering the program highly ineffective. A more concerning impact of the program is that incoming high school students who plan on using will not be involved whatsoever at school, letting them not have a sense of a welcoming community or be involved in a program which may change their future actions, students are just incentivized to not be involved at all. Another concern that has been fore fronted is missing out of class, when selected for testing students are suddenly taken out of class with no future notice for teachers planning lessons, the most annoying circumstance is in an On Ramps class when one test can only be used once, and if a test is missed our teachers have to fill out long forms requesting a new test. It is obvious that Lake Travis has a drug problem, but the way the administration has attempted to solve it props up a culture of authoritarianism which causes hesitance for incoming students which results in more harm over the long run, causes students to drop out of activities and lose a sense of community where there only sense of fun or gratification is partying or using drugs, and is ultimately distracting and an annoyance in the classroom. Instead of focusing on punishing students, the school district should invest the thousands of dollars they used to implement this program and invest that into ways to promote a healthier culture at Lake Travis and invest into programs such as intramural sports where students who are not the best are still given the opportunity to participate at campus and have a sense of community. Punishment doesn’t work and props up a culture of fear for students, we should instead prop up a culture of acceptance and letting students participate in safe activities, when a student does not feel welcome at school, students go do things that the school district is attempting to solve, what the current culture is being created is a risk culture of trying never to be caught and students who use often just leaving all school programs together.