Letters to the editor
September 23, 2003
As a member of the newly founded Parent Support Group for a Better Alternative in Hayden, I want it to be known that we are in favor of drug prevention and commend our School Board, administration and staff for their attempts to deal with drug issues. However, we feel that drug testing could be counterproductive in many ways and is a violation of civil rights.
Our wish is that everyone who is in support of drug testing as prevention of drug use be made aware of the facts. Results of a federally funded, national study of student drug testing were published in The Journal of School Health in April 2003. This study shows that student drug testing does not curb illicit drug use by students.
We have several concerns with this issue, one of which is that drug testing of students will increase the dropout rate. Another concern is that a student could suffer long-term because of one bad choice. Positive results could affect their decisions to join the armed services or the colleges of their choice. It’s not uncommon for teens to use poor judgment at least once.
While many feel that drug testing is the answer, they may be unaware of how a false-positive test result could affect a student’s life. There are about 300 over-the-counter medications that can cause a false-positive reading.
Hayden High School has had the ability to drug-test athletes for some time, and to the best of my knowledge, has not used this tool.
It has been said, “If it keeps one child from doing drugs, it’s worth it.” We could use that type of logic with anything. We could say, “If we all quit driving tomorrow, and it saved one person’s life, it would be worth it.” No, we must weigh the pros and cons of the issue. We need to decide if the good that will come from drug testing will outweigh the damage it could cause. …
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One of the biggest pitfalls of student drug testing may be that it pits administration and staff against students and families. We need to remember that we are all working toward a common goal — drug-free youth. No parent wants his or her child to be a drug addict or an alcoholic. We feel there are more positive measures than drug testing that can be taken.
We’ve set up a Web site (www.haydenpsg.com) with helpful information concerning drug/alcohol addiction, and we will be adding more each week.
Let’s all hope for a future that is free of drug abuse and a land where our civil rights are still intact.