20 Feb 2013

Why I Support Student Drug Testing In Schools

2 Comments Campus Security, Featured Articles

I was asked my position on random drug testing in our schools. Obviously, nothing is ever simply answered with an “I’m for it”… except in this case! Why am I for student drug testing in schools is simple? It serves as a deterrent and a means for identifying students in need of help.

Before you begin with it violates their privacy, no probable cause, and children are treated like common criminals please stop. This is not about enforcement or disciplinary actions directed against students testing positive for using illegal drugs.

My support for random student drug testing in schools is for the welfare of the child, the family, the school and the community. If one student refrains from drug use because the possibility of urinating into a plastic cup is what it takes to save them, then how can you oppose it?

I worked a narcotics assignment for 12 years to include three years with the DEA Task Force. Whether operating undercover or as an investigating agent, I have the unique experiences for witnessing the destruction caused by illegal drug use.

Are we willing to sacrifice a child’s life for the sake of baseless arguments veiled by privacy issues? What about the damaging substances invading this child’s body, mind, and future?

Random testing should be a condition of enrollment. I also submit that school policies must address concerns including privacy, equitable administration, reporting and follow-up.

Why Test

The most basic reason for testing is to protect and preserve our most precious natural resource; children. Are they at risk? Where have you been since the 60s? Upon becoming high school seniors, nearly 50% admitted using drugs at least once.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse show students representing the group using drugs also include 18% who admit to using marijuana within the last month. Prescription drug use shows 1 in 10 high school seniors consuming them, with the powerful painkiller Vicodin as very popular.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports student-age deaths related to drugs increased over 90% between 2000 and 2009. Not reason enough? Each day 2,500 students abuse prescription drugs for the first time.

The initial introduction to drug use regularly leads to a life of chronic use and addiction. This is often complicated by physical ailments and disease. Is this worthy of your privacy challenge?

Children do not have the developed capacity or experiential maturity to earnestly make decisions to use drugs or not. Peer pressure and socialization, not rationalization drives their choices.

IMPACT ON THE STUDENT

If random drug testing were a condition of enrollment, then everyone would be equally responsible for submitting to testing. This minimizes the stigma attached to having your name selected.

Once it is built into the culture of the learning environment, such as rules for academic integrity, it becomes as routine as reciting the pledge of allegiance over the PA system.

The challenges present themselves in the positive results phase of drug testing. The mission of testing students should focus on deterrence and identification. A positive result indicates the first goal failed.

Identifying a student using illegal drugs requires confidentiality, compassion and a commitment for securing assistance to the individual and family. Responsible adults working to provide guidance must consider the current and future well-being of the student.

Students habitually testing positive for drug use should face a progressive system for securing assistance dealing with chronic usage or addictions. If the student is at a point of causing social disruption to classmates, instructors and the school ecology, the student may require resources outside the scope of the learning environment.

Total impact? The simple investment of randomly submitting to a confidential drug test may either stop a student from trying drugs or alert school staff of a child in need. Either result is a valuable dividend realized compared to the child’s suffering in silence because of circumstances associated with illegal drug use.

DOES EARLY INTERVENTION PREVENT OR ENCOURAGE ILLICIT BEHAVIORS

I know my limitations, and child psychology is one of them. I also know my expertise, and witnessing the destruction perpetuated by parents and teachers afraid to investigate suspected drug use has dominated my career.

How does early intervention affect the child’s behavior? I know that doing nothing cannot be an option. I know that unsuspecting parents are devastated daily by heartbreaking news.

I know that the inconvenience of submitting to a simple drug test outweighs the potential for destruction of young lives. I know that baseless argument over a child’s privacy go silent real soon inside of emergency rooms.

2 Responses to “Why I Support Student Drug Testing In Schools”

  1. Why I Support Student Drug Testing. Do You? | Bright Blue Line says:

    […] via Why I Support Student Drug Testing In Schools. […]

  2. Debate Of The Week: Is The Random Drug Testing Of Students A Good Or Bad Idea? says:

    […] Wednesday = Police Chief Scott Silverii is back with another no nonsense opinion piece based on his experience of working with kids throughout his years on the force. http://www.thebadgeguys.com/why-i-support-student-drug-testing-in-schools/ […]