OKC School Officials Consider Drug-Testing Policy

Tuesday, September 23rd 2014, 10:52 pm
By: News 9

For the first time, Oklahoma City Public Schools is set to consider a drug-testing policy for employees.

It might be hard to believe there was never a drug testing policy in place.

In fact, it's not even required by the State Education Department.

The district said Oklahoma City is the only public school system, of comparable size in the state, that does not test its employees for drug use.

“Seems like that policy should have been in place a long time ago,” said parent, Joshua Thomas.

“And I think a lot of people expect us to have already done this, and we owe it to our community to look at it, and consider it, and think outside the box as to what we can do to be better,” said OKCPS spokesperson, Tierney Tinnin.

OKCPS officials said it's a conversation that's being had on a number of levels, should the district implement a drug-testing policy for teachers, administrators, and even support staff.

“Well, we've had informal discussion about this policy change, and it's one that I think the whole entire board is excited about doing,” said OKCPS board member, Bob Hammack.

Hammack said a drug-testing policy strikes him as a very "sensible" idea.

“A lot of people were surprised, myself included, as well as several other new members of the board, and really kind of flabbergasted as to why you wouldn't have a very sensible policy in place like other school districts,” said Hammack.

First time employees are required to pass background checks, but alcohol and drug screenings are not a requirement.

“It's not a requirement by the state, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen,” said Tinnin.

“I just think they're trying to cover themselves, and just make sure,” said Thomas.

Federal law does require school districts to have a drug testing policy in place for bus drivers. They may also be asked to participate in random drug testing.

It's not clear at this point when or even if the board will make a decision on this issue.