02 Nov 2012

The Case Against Random Drug Testing In Schools

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Although there is a definite correlation between students who take drugs, and the affect that it has on their academic performance, not all experts agree that every single student should be subjected to random drug testing while at school, college or university. Indeed there are several clear arguments for a case against random drug testing.

Waste of Money

In order to implement a drug testing plan within an educational organization such as a university, a lot of money has to be invested to run it effectively. The testing equipment has to be purchased in bulk, and specialized staff have to be employed in order to carry out the tests. Given that it’s only a small percentage of students who will regularly take drugs; this testing process could be seen as a waste of money, time and resources. Money could be spent on better things such as computer or sporting equipment.

Testing is not Always Reliable

Surveys which were carried on over a thousand students in 2010 showed that the majority of drug users took drugs at weekends. This being the case, it would depend when the random tests were carried out because traces of drugs may have disappeared from the students bodies. The results of random drug testing could be considered to be inaccurate in a certain percentage of cases which makes the scheme seem flawed.

Testing Could Create Rebellion

Many students resent the fact that they are expected to be regularly tested for drugs and this could potentially lead to behavior problems. At the end of the day, some of the students attending colleges and universities are young adults and for this reason, they may feel that their human rights are being ignored. People who feel strongly about being tested may adopt deviant tendencies. University students in the UK went on protest marches in 2012 to demonstrate against university fees increasing. The majority of these protests were not peaceful and there was major damage to buildings and many people were injured.

The thing is that feelings can run high and there is no way of telling of how these feelings could manifest. Strong emotions can evoke anger which could lead to violent behavior. It could be argued that every individual is being punished as a result of a small percentage of students who are doing wrong. The majority of people are there to improve their chances in life of gaining decent employment.

It Compromises Privacy

Enforced random drug testing would violate the principle of innocent until proven guilty. It adopts the need to assume that all students are potentially taking harmful drugs and so everyone needs to be under suspicion. Perhaps, students need to be more closely monitored based on their academic performance. If teachers have any concerns then they could contact the parents to express their worries. Drug use being dealt with within a family can be very effective, rather than having to subject every single student to a test.

Why stop at drugs? Perhaps the next thing that students will be tested for is sexually transmitted diseases. When will this invasion to privacy end? Schools cannot simply assume that every person takes drugs, acts promiscuously, smokes or drinks alcohol because each person is an individual and has their own set of ideals. Not all young people will bow to peer pressure in their life time because they want to stay healthy and even if it means losing friends, they will stand by their principles. Each student deserves the right to be treated as an individual.

There will probably always be a certain percentage of students who will take drugs in many different countries but other countries don’t have a random drug testing process in place. Problems are dealt with as they arise and students automatically lose their place at a school, college or university and the police become involved when necessary. This has proven to be an effective method in controlling drug use which does not involve the mass privacy invasion or cost of random drug testing.

There are cameras everywhere these days so we may always have the feeling that we are being watched, no matter whether we are in school or at the mall. To a certain degree, we, as human beings have lost our right to anonymity so we should not have to undergo random drug testing for no specific reason.

Have you been persuaded by the arguments discussed above? Are you for or against random drug testing of students? Have you been the subject of a random drug test or have you known someone who has? Has there been a drug problem at your child’s school and has this made you feel strongly about the options available to school security? Please share your thoughts and experiences below for the benefit of readers.

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