Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How do you feel about teen drug testing in schools?

There is really no argument that drug abuse is infecting our young people at epidemic proportions. This affects their overall lives as well as their academic performance. But does this give us the right to mandate drug testing in schools?

The number of schools in the US that are testing students for drug use is on the rise. This is largely due to legal barriers being taken down and more money being available for testing programs. As well schools have begun to test a broader range of students.

In 2002 the Supreme Court ruled that random testing of athletes and others in competitive extracurricular activities could be tested without violating the students' privacy rights.

The information gained is not made public.
The number of students that test positive for drugs is not released publicly and the schools are not required to report them to the U.S. government. As well the results can’t be given to police or used for punishment toward the student except to exclude them from extracurricular activities.

The general rule of thumb is for schools to test for marijuana, stimulants and opiates at an average cost of $42 per test.

Recently some schools are testing the legal boundaries the Supreme Court set for the screening of students. One district will be testing not only athletes and students in clubs, but also those who drive to school and anyone who wants to go to a school activity such as a dance, prom or class party.

Is it worth it?
The question remains however, is this really a deterrent and is it worth the money? If one is a tax payer that does not have any children, they may answer No.

The cold hard truth however is that teen drug abuse affects everyone whether they have their own children or not. This is evidenced in the rise in the numbers of youth who are being incarcerated.

For the rest of us who do have children and are terrified by the substances that are readily available to them, I believe the overall answer is that more should be done.

Perhaps our youth are not so happy about what they may feel is an invasion of their privacy……but it is our job as adults to be in our children’s business as a community.

Share your opinion with me here and speak out on the subject whether you’re a supporter or not.

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