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Why Drug Testing in Schools Isn’t a Good Idea

With so many of us inundated with constant news stories and warnings about the dangers of young people being exposed to dangerous substances, random drug testing in schools may seem like a great way to deter students from getting caught up in things they should avoid. However, there is a strong case to be made against this practice. Drug tests in schools are costly, destroy the trust many students have in their faculty, and can have severely negative impacts on education.

This blog discusses some of the risks that come with drug testing within a school environment, listing some of the negative consequences of punishing young people for positive results on unexpected tests. If you have any more questions about drug testing or wish to receive professional advice on the matter, contact ReliaLab today.

Laws Behind Drug Testing Students

You may be wondering about the legality of drug testing students. Whilst testing students for drug use is generally considered unconstitutional under most circumstances, there are specific scenarios in which the law allows for random drug testing – including if they are student athletes, and if they are involved in competitive extracurricular activities. This broad ruling, however, can lead to many loopholes, and students can find themselves being subjected to drug tests for trivial reasons.

Allowing drug tests, especially drug tests without prior warning, gives many schools the right to spring tests on their students out of the blue. Whilst this is to ensure that regular drug users can plan accordingly to pass the test, it can equally put young people in dangerous positions. Students who experiment with drugs once may find themselves severely punished if the test falls at the wrong time, and many find random drug tests on young people in a school environment to be a violation of their rights.

Punishment Over Support

Drug testing in schools can often be used as a threat, and when approaching drug use with young people this punishment system can be detrimental. It leaves no space to support students who may have been pressured into trying drugs, who were trying to experiment in a natural way, or who may be struggling with addiction issues. Punishing students and trying to ‘catch them out’ often fails to foster a healthy environment for young people, when providing support and education should be a priority.

The Long-Term Consequences

Students need to be educated on the dangers of drugs, and supported through their adolescence to ensure that they don’t struggle with addiction or damaging substances. However, many believe that it is healthy and expected for young people to experiment with drugs, and going through such a common phase in life isn’t something that should be responded to with serious consequences like suspension, formal reporting to authorities, or other punishments.

Students who try out drugs socially, even as a one-off, can face severe and long-lasting consequences as a result of random drug tests. They can lose opportunities and have their permanent records stained, affecting future educational and professional opportunities.

Creating a Safe School Environment

 A school’s job is to provide education, something that every child and teenager is entitled to. Many may argue that it isn’t the business of a school to know what their students do in their free time. Teachers and faculty should look out for concerning behaviors in their students (grades, social problems, signs of addiction or drug abuse), and follow that up by seeking to support them. No students deserve to be robbed of their education, and punishing students who use drugs often hurts their educational development and does nothing to help them towards recovery.

Mandatory drug testing can often lead to distrust between students and faculty, fostering a negative environment and harming the ability of teachers to be able to help students in trouble.

Contact ReliaLab to Get Your Drug Testing Questions Answered

Drug testing is a tricky topic, and there are many things to consider when deciding whether you want to subject anyone to a random drug test. When it comes to schools, this is a hotly debated and difficult topic to navigate. If you’re considering drug testing within a school environment, it is vital that you consider all options and outcomes. Contact ReliaLab today if you have any questions about the drug testing process and the technicalities that come with it.

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