It may be a hard fact to face, but it’s true: our children spend more time at school (about the same amount of time we spend at work) than they do with us at home. It’s where they get an education, sure, but it’s also where they learn–from friends and otherwise–about things going on in the world, cultural trends like music and fashion, and as they get older, sex and politics. So when the schools want to regulate an area of your child’s life is it ok, or just out of order?
A few days ago, parents united in New Jersey to protest a school district’s attempt to have random drug tests on students. Drug use in the area was said to be at “epidemic” levels, according to WABC News, but the Board of Education voted that no one would be tested after a huge campaign from the parents. The Northern Valley Regional School parents
were overwhelmingly opposed to the random drug testing. Under the drug testing proposal, kids who failed the test would have to undergo testing and a year without extracurricular activities. One student who spoke at the school meeting said: “You can find out how to pass a urine drug test on Wikipedia.”
While we get scanned at airports, and if we drive a certain way that looks suspicious (or in some cases even when we’re not doing a darn thing) we can get pulled over by police, so should our kids be subject to random surveillance in schools for drug use?
My daughter is still in second grade, but I can say that I’m not down for her being targeted and violated in this way. Thinking ahead to when she’s in sixth grade, I would be livid if she came home and told me she was pulled from the hallway or her classroom to urinate in a cup. On the other hand, what about the kids who are a part of the epidemic and may need some intervention in school that they are, for some reason, not getting at home?
Would random drug testing make kids who may be abusing drugs stay away from school? What about the kids who were not using drugs, how afraid would they be to step into the building every day not knowing whether they would be singled out for random testing?
I’m not too convinced that random testing and kicking a kid out of the Glee Club or off the basketball team would be enough incentive for teens facing peer pressure to just say no.
Random drug testing is a poorly thought out approach to help combat drug use in schools, but what do you think is a better solution?