Posts Tagged school drug testing
The Lake Zurich Community District 95 School Board has voted against the drug testing policy that was supposed to be implemented in the schools in their area. After a year of discussions and debates of those who are for and against the policy, the school board who voted last week finally sealed the fate of the proposal.
In last month’s survey, it was revealed that 1,912 residents or 76% of the respondents did not agree to the provisions of the policy which prompted the board to vote against it.
People like Dan Fewkes, who initially supported random drug testing policy but later became a strong anti-drug test advocate, were pleased with the board’s decision. He said that while there may be a very big problem on drug abuse especially among students, Fewkes believes that there are other ways to address the growing problem. “The school board and the administration have the ear of the community right now, as to what we are going to do about this; now is the time to do something,” Fewkes said.
The majority voted against the implementation of the random drug testing for varied reasons. Some said it was a clear violation of the student’s and their parent’s rights, while others said it was not fair as it will only target students who are into extra-curricular activities or those with parking spaces. Some also doubt the method of drug testing.
For board member Kathleen Wallis, what the board did was listen to the community upon voting, and this should be reason enough for the residents to cooperate with them in solving the problem at hand.
Resident Jim Cairo pledged that he will continue to support the board in coming up with more programs against drug abuse. “I don’t think this policy was the right thing, but I don’t think we should be against the administration for trying something. I think we have to find the right process–I think education is the best way to reach these kids,” he said.
Many school districts have implemented or at least proposed for a drug testing policy for students. The programs met different reactions for and against the policies. In the case of the Illinois Bluffs School District in Glasford, Illinois, teachers have been on strike for 8 days over a new board policy that called for random drug testing of teachers.
The union and the school board could not come to an agreement in as far as the new policy is concerned, and that the district is in the process of looking for temporary replacement teachers in the coming week, to cover those who are participating in the strike.
The teachers’ union is saying that only the teachers whom the administration believes has probable cause for testing should undergo drug testing. A federal mediator is set to handle the case over the weekend.
A new study has shown that student drug testing programs do not necessarily put a stop or minimize drug and alcohol use among male students.
The study was done by examining 943 high school students with ages ranging from 14 to 19 years old. Reported results claim that drug testing programs do not serve as a deterrent as most male respondents said they did not stop nor lessen their use of alcohol and drugs despite the implementation of drug testing in their respective schools.
Dan Romer, one of the co-authors of the study relates the data they have gathered to the existence of drug testing programs for students. “This study sends a cautionary note to the estimated 20% or more of high schools that have joined the drug testing bandwagon. We find little evidence that this approach to minimizing teen drug use is having the deterrent effect its proponents claim.”
The proponents of the study suggest that schools should first improve on the climate and culture existing in their institution. This will have a greater impact among students and in the whole school community with regards to drugs and alcohol usage.
In schools where rules and regulations were clearly enforced, drug testing initiatives did produce positive results as female students refrained from getting into dangerous habits and male students were less likely to experiment with the substances.
“Schools should consider improving their climates before embarking on drug testing,” Romer explains. “Students in schools with good climates are far more likely to respond well to messages discouraging the use of drugs than students in schools with poor climates.”
Scott Guappone is a parent of three kids who all go to the McKinley Elementary School. In last Monday’s board meeting of Lisbon schools, he spoke to the people and clearly expressed that he is not in favor of school drug testing programs. “I think that it’d be more of a problem for the community than a solution,” he says.
By this, he pointed out the fact that kids today usually go for alcohol or pills as their top choices for substance abuse. Unfortunately, when alcohol or pills are taken into the body, no sign or traces are left after 48 hours from the time they were taken. If this is the case, Guappone tells the board that testing will only be effective if done on a regular basis, but this could mean additional cost which will put a toll on their district’s budget.
Earlier in July, the school board planned to adopt a policy of drug testing for students to help motivate kids to stay away from drugs and ensure they remain sober at all times, especially school athletes.
Guappone’s reasoning did not sit well with Board member Jeff Elliot who initiated the drug testing program. He says that so far, all he has been receiving are positive feedbacks with regards to the proposal.
But Gusappone may have found an ally in another Board member, Gene Gallo. Gallo says Guappone’s participation is a welcome feedback which represents the public’s participation on the issue.
Board president Jim Smith says that they have yet to decide on the drug testing proposal. A lot of factors will still be discussed on their next meeting set on September 12.
On top of pop quizzes, sixth, seventh and eighth graders in Belvidere, New Jersey might also have to deal with random drug testing. According to a post on CBS New York, the Board of Education will vote on Wednesday on the proposed policy that will subject middle schoolers to drug tests — and school administrators are confident the proposal will pass.
Oxford Elementary School Principal Sandra Szabocsik said “We’re hoping that the students if they’re at say a party or someone’s house or just hanging out somewhere, that they’ll say ‘I don’t want to get involved in drinking or using any drug because tomorrow could be a drug testing day.”
Both parents and students must consent to participation in the program as it is voluntary. A number of parents and students have already signified their interest in the program. Belvidere students who test positive would not be suspended or sent to the police. They would instead undergo in-school counseling or be referred to a rehab facility.
Drug testing is already mandatory at Belvidere High School for students who park on campus, join clubs or participate in athletics.
However, some organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, do not approve of the use of drug tests in schools, stressing that it does not reduce drug abuse among youth. The high cost of drug tests, the high incidence of false positives and the invasion of a child’s privacy have been cited as main arguments against it.
If you were a parent, would you allow your middle school student to undergo random drug testing?
A report on the Republican Herald shares the first reading of the proposed drug testing policy that will be followed in Shenandoah Valley schools. The school board met on Wednesday and the proposed policy was read aloud by Superintendent Dr. Stanley G. Rakowsky. This was then approved unanimously by the members of the board.
The policy will affect students in the seventh until the twelfth grade who are engaged in extra-curricular activities such as football, cheerleading and the student council. There will be voluntary and mandatory drug testing in the form of urine tests. The students will be selected at random by an approved contractor. Up to ten eligible students may be tested randomly in two-week intervals throughout the school year.
The parents or guardians of the students involved will need to sign a consent form that authorizes the release of test results. Students whose parents will not give their consent will be prohibited from getting involved in extra-curricular activities.
Students who are not involved in the specified extra-curricular activities may be covered through enrollment in a voluntary program provided that their parent or guardian gives the necessary permission.
The testing will cover the following substances: anabolic steroids, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, codeine, depressants, heroin, marijuana, morphine, methamphetamine, opiates, PCP, stimulants, Valium and alcohol.
Wednesday’s reading, as mentioned earlier, is the first reading of the proposed policy. Two more public readings will be held before the school board takes a vote on adopting the policy or not. The policy may be amended during this time.