The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting commentary in today’s issue concerning a New Jersey law that mandates random drug tests for student athletes. The tests are looking for steroids, a growing problem among all levels of athletes.
I think the Monitor is wrong on this issue and it seems to me that the authors have spent little time around high school sports and more specifically, high school sport athletes and parents. The Monitor writes that “By making random testing compulsory, New Jersey undermines the responsibilities of parents to bring up their kids and teach them right from wrong. It detracts from young people reasoning their way to a moral conclusion about steroid use – a thought process vital to growing up – by emphasizing an up-or-down test. And it takes a personal decision about one’s own body and a physical exam (either urine or blood, New Jersey hasn’t settled on a method yet) out of the family setting and hands it to the state.”
As a teacher myself, I know that the range of student athletes is a wide as the range of professional athletes. There are those that work hard to succeed but also there are those that buckle under the pressure of success and look for shortcuts. Sadly, there are instances where the parents are part of this pressure to succeed. I’m not sure how I get how taking the test out of the steroid equation means that parents will teach their student right from wrong or how mandating a test takes the parent of of that role.
Steroids and performance enhancing drugs are wrong for athletes at any level. I believe that is especially critical for student athletes.