A Different Kind Of School Test

Drug testing and screening are routine for many people: athletes, job applicants, employees, and students. Despite this, there are still others who feel that their privacies are violated when institutions require them to undergo drug testing as it is imperative since the law condemns anyone who engages in activities involving drugs — it does not recognize differences between a private user, a party user, or a drug pusher.

Drug testing also offers many advantages for individuals who require it and for those who submit to it. For employers who advocate drug testing, it is a way to minimize costs and secure gains. The initial investment in having all their employees tested ensures continuous productivity and less workplace tension and problems among employees. They are able to weed out and reject employees and applicants alike who are drug dependents. The employers save by doing away with non-performing employees and by reducing production costs such as salaries and benefits. Professional athletes also undergo drug testing and screening regularly to monitor use of performance drugs in order to maintain fair play and healthy competition.

Aside from the major institutions requiring drug testing, schools, especially colleges, high schools, and middle schools are also subject to it. The drug testing process includes mandatory and random drug tests among the students and school personnel (i.e. teachers, maintenance, etc.). Though there are some — like Kansas State professor Bob Shoop — who feel that drug testing and screening are invasive actions against a person’s privacy and violations of democratic rights, most think otherwise. Most school officials feel that these are necessary efforts to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning and student safety. Benefits that schools reap as a result of drug screening are obvious. Primarily, drug testing reduces the use and market of drugs within the school, thus, discouraging drug pushers to sell on campus. There are also lower incidents of school violence as most of the kids’ violent behaviors are due to substance abuse. As a result, schools thereby maintaining a positive learning environment becomes more safer and peaceful than earlier.

The effects and help of drug screening to students are more personal and less noticeable. First, the substance and drug use problems of kids surface making them open to receive help and substance counseling. Counselors agree that the earlier drug and substance abuse are detected, the easier it is for kids to kick the habit off. Second, mandatory routine drug testing and screening discourage students from taking drugs and give them a valid, indisputable reason to refuse offers to use drugs. Surveys reveal that kids are more prone to take drugs if their reasons are not satisfied and for refusing are easily dispelled by pushers. Third, and probably the most crucial, drug testing helps develop the kids’ full potential even indirectly. If their environment is drug-free, students are keener to explore positive activities like art, sports, or writing and give better academic performance.

There are debates about drug testing and screening, especially in schools. In situations as delicate as students’ safety and drug use, perhaps it is better tip the balance in favor of the pros. Surely, bright, healthy, and drug tested individuals are preferable than free, drug-dependent people with broken futures.

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