Education

Random Drug Testing for Students? What About the School’s Leadership?

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It makes sense that an Orwellian proposal would involve some delightful double speak to accompany it. As Whitefish High School considers a proposal to conduct drug tests on all students involved in extra-curricular activities, the proposal’s defenders don’t want you to get the wrong idea: it’s not a violation of rights, it’s an opportunity:

On the one side is a gathering of coaches, teachers and concerned citizens who “want to give these kids another opportunity to ‘just say no,’ ” in the words of athletic director Jackie Fuller. “We’ve been researching this for some time now as coaches, about six years now, and we’re convinced it’s the right thing to do.”

While encouraging students to not use drugs is certainly valuable, there are certainly better approaches available than both denying students the right to privacy and teaching them that government agencies have the right to search them without consent or probable cause. It’s a knee jerk reaction driven by fear and false information, something proponents of the plan acknowledge:

One major impetus for this latest discussion was a survey showing that more than 90 percent of Whitefish High School students had tried marijuana.

It was shocking, to say the least. And it was absolutely untrue.

The survey, it seems, had been misread, and in fact the percentage was less than half of what was initially reported…

Maybe deficient reading skills would be a better crisis to respond to.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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