No one wants to see kids get involved with drugs or alcohol. It’s not a winning situation, but kids don’t always get that. They think they can do anything without consequences. They think nothing will happen to them. Drugs kill, you read about it or hear it on the news everyday, yet people still take them. How far can we go to stop it and can it be stopped? Will student drug testing make a difference?
The Board of Education in Cleveland, Tennessee will be taking another look at random drug testing of students. Students involved in “after school activities” will be the targeted group. This brings up questions including how to define “after school activities”. After school activities include such things as band participation and school sports activities. What shouldt be included, and what should be excluded? Should it happen at all?
There is a draft version of the proposed new policy which is in question. That draft indicates that parents and students will be made aware of the policy before the students participate in after school activities and they must sign a release prior to participating.
Is there a drug problem in Cleveland, Tennessee? Will such a policy work if there is? What about other schools in Tennessee that have similar policies in place? What are the statistics? What are the costs? These are some of the questions that need answers.
On July 1, 2010 the Tennessee General Assembly amended State law regarding random drug searches. The law allows them, but it goes on to say that the school system has to have policies in place to ensure that students that test positive receive the help they need. Drug and alcohol use by students needs to be assessed to determine the severity, and the students must receive a referral to a treatment program.
The law does not state that schools are required to administer drug tests. If they do, they (the school) must provide and pay for the testing materials and any counseling out of existing local funds.
Obviously, with all the unanswered questions more time is needed before a decision will be made. If this goes into effect, it will be interesting to find out the answer to the question, will student drug testing make a difference?