Drug Testing in Public Schools

Dangerous Lessons: Drug Testing in Public
Schools

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow schools to conduct random
drug tests on students participating in extracurricular activities
may be a violation of students’ rights, but Richard Glen Boire in
CounterPunch says there’s also a very ironic twist:
The tests may actually deter students from taking part in
after-school programs, while encouraging them to take drugs.

Boire says the decision is just another desperate tactic that feeds
the paranoia of the war on drugs. ‘The decision not only victimizes
our children, it makes them the enemy,’ writes Boire. ‘Being a
public school student is now synonymous with being a criminal
suspect or a prisoner.’

One of the worst ways to discourage students from using drugs is to
eliminate options to drugs, which Boire says the decision will do
for many students. Clearly, punishment and hindering students from
positive choices is ineffective, yet they continue to be the
foundations of drug education and prevention. ‘The federal
government has tried everything from threatening imprisonment to
yanking student loans, to spending hundreds of millions of dollars
on ‘just say no’ advertisements, and still, some students continue
to experiment with marijuana and other drugs,’ he writes.

The real solution, says Boire, is to find an altogether new way of
teaching about drugs. Since students will likely experiment with
drugs with or without threats of punishment, he reasons that the
approach should follow a ‘safe sex’ guideline, based on respect and
knowledge instead of intimidation and shame.
–Julie Madsen
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