For years there has been a national push to get schools to implement suspicion-less random drug testing for those in extra-curricular activities, supported by grants from the federal government, and promoted heavily by the Drug Czar’s office.
This is not only wrong, but it’s a stupid policy — one that is likely to be counter-productive.
Basically the view of the schools has been: We must institute a policy that is expensive, demeans students, infringes on their rights, has been empirically proven not to work, and makes no sense… and we’ll do it for the children.
Fortunately, not all schools are falling for it.
Here’s a school that’s attempting to implement testing, but at least has come to part of their senses.
Initially, the committee had focused on developing a random drug testing policy for students involved in extracurricular activities, such as athletics, band and school clubs.
Of late, though, the committee has suspended that angle.
“Essentially, we felt that policy would not bring the ends that we were looking for,” said Brown.
Pursuing that form of a policy would only allow a limited number of students to be tested, he said.
And the students most in danger of falling victim to drug abuse are often those uninvolved in extracurricular activities, thus exempting them from drug testing, he said.
“We’re not getting help to those most desperately in need,” he said.
As an alternative, Brown said, the committee is exploring a more focused, “suspicion-based” testing program.
The focus will now be on “fringe” students perceived to be in danger.
Brown said that assessment would be backed up by certain statutory criteria, such as attendance and discipline records.
While it’s still likely to end up too broad, at least this is a step in the right direction – clear documented suspicion-based criteria that doesn’t penalize the average student for being involved (and importantly, doesn’t inculcate in students the notion that submitting to suspicion-less humiliation is a normal part of citizenship).
I’d like to think that the Caldwell County school district has heard some of the critiques given by drug policy reformers about suspicion-less drug testing.