Co-curricular students to be considered in tests

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

After 819 Alice High School students turned in forms during last week's Drug Policy meeting, district officials said that 100 student consent forms are still unaccounted for. AISD trustees also admitted to an oversight in only including those students who participate in extracurricular activities in the random drug testing, and not those who participate in co-curricular activities such as JROTC and FFA.

Board members Ciro Zamora and Lee Ramon both said that leaving those students out of the testing was an oversight on their part when they approved the policy and that the district should look into the possibility of including those students as well.

Superintendent Henry Herrera said that many of those students who participate in co-curricular activities are already covered in extra curricular activities such as band, UIL and athletics. He also stated that since their grades are dependent on the activities they do, since they receive grades in many cases based on the activities they do in those co-curricular courses at the high school, it would be difficult to determine whether it would be feasible to include them as well.

Students who test positive in the current drug policy are not penalized legally or academically, since their performance in extra curricular activities is not connected to the outcome of a grade in class. In the case of FFA students, whose sole goal is to care and raise an animal for show, the line in what you would consider practice or performance is difficult to determine, district officials said.

A total of 1,606 people attended last week's mandatory drug policy meeting at the high school. This included 787 parents and 819 students. After cross checking the names of kids who turned in forms with those on the list for extra curricular activities, Herrera found nearly 100 students who didn't show that night.

"Some of those kids have probably dropped out of those activities since the beginning of the year. So the number is probably lower than 100," Herrera said.

At 819 students, that means 61 percent of the students at AHS fall under the AISD random drug testing policy, as either students who participate in extra curricular activities or those who have a parking permit. Board members directed Herrera to research how to include students in co-curricular activities as part of the policy.

In other school business, trustees received a construction progress report on the new William Adams Middle School project. According to the report from architects LaMarr Womack and Associates, the under slab excavation at the WAMS site is now completed. The foundation piers are currently being drilled and filled with concrete. So far, the drilled piers are 10 percent complete and 75 percent of the piers steel is tied and ready to install. The report stated that rain has delayed the project to some degree, but at this point, the contractor says they can catch up and get back on schedule if the weather cooperates. Herrera said after the meeting that the contractor is experiencing 45 days worth of delays at other project sites in Benavides and Banquete, but that the WAMS project is nowhere near that far behind.

Womack's report also said that the shop drawings, which are the technical drawings, are currently being processed, and are more than 50 percent complete.