Drug Test America’s High School and Jr. High School Students!
Yes, we are the land of the free. Yes, we have rights to privacy. Yes, there are laws that prevent intrusion into our private lives. Yes, it is against the law to search our private property without a warrant.
However, teens do not have these rights until they become of legal age and are emancipated from their parent’s control. I believe this age is 18 years in most States.
Until then, parents can search their kid’s rooms and their persons and there are no rights to privacy, but that which parents wish to grant. Good kids will stay out of serious trouble and they normally do not look like they are doing anything very wrong. However, in my private practice, good parents have been forced by their child’s suspicious behavior patterns to suspend trust and search their “private” domains. In doing so they have found under-age sexual alliances; plans to take a car and a gun and run away; weapons; drugs; alcohol.
With the consent of the parent our adolescent students should receive random drug tests in school. Some parents may not wish to sign a consent from for personal reasons and I do not see a problem with this. However, if there are “reasonable grounds for suspicion” about a particular student’s involvement in drugs, the school should have the responsibility and the right to test that student for drugs.
Some will argue that “reasonable suspicion” should be legally defined. Yes, if it has not already been done, it should be: ASAP.
Some will argue that parent’s rights should trump the school’s reasonable suspicion imperatives. I will argue they are wrong. The kids involved with drugs are normally sharing the drugs with friends, or selling them to others. They are models for others to imitate. The spreading influence among peers is what I call bad behavioral contagion. Such a behavioral contagion spreads developmental destruction to unaffected kids and increases the odds of dependency (addiction), abuse, and death. It also makes effective education of affected children all but impossible.
The harm of all of this far outweighs the harm of a drug test to an innocent student.
The harm done to society, among all of the other contemporary harms that we could name, is unsustainable.
I hope you will support parental approval of random adolescent student drug testing in our schools. Also, support mandatory drug testing of those students whose behavior provides reasonable suspicion of their drug involvement.
Please see the following brief article.
V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 7/31/11