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Arguments Against Drug Testing in Schools

by K.C. Morgan, Demand Media

    The issue of drug testing in schools has been argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, and it's been a hot-button issue in many homes around the nation. The decision of the court allowed random drug testing for student athletes. In 1998, the ruling was extended to include all extracurricular activities. Other rulings have added more shades to the issue; a 2000 Indiana Supreme Court case made it illegal to test students who were not suspected of taking drugs. Arguments against drug testing in schools have keep the debate alive.

    Privacy

    Many of those who argue against drug testing in schools cite privacy concerns as a major issue in the debate. In the U.S., everyone is considered innocent until proved guilty, and some have argued that forcing drug tests upon the innocent is a violation of this basic legal right and a violation of privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has argued against drug testing by citing the Fourth Amendment of the U.S.Constitution, which bans unreasonable searches.

    Drug Use

    One argument against drug testing in schools insists that random testing doesn't lessen incidents of drug use among students. Some say that forcing kids to submit to drug testing will only foster and encourage rebellious acts, which could in turn create more drug use instead of less. Students who already use drugs may turn to different drugs that are harder to detect in a test, or resort to products designed to fool drug tests. Because some users learn how to fool the results in this fashion, random drug testing is not an accurate method of determining drug use, and there is a lack of hard evidence proving that it curtails drug use in students.

    Cost

    Cost is a much-used and extremely effective argument against drug testing in schools. Paying for random drug tests for athletics and other extracurricular activities is costly, Opponents to testing note that this particularly important when consider that many students who are forced to take the test are not on drugs and may not be at risk for drug use. The cost of such testing adds up in many ways: drug testing kits for each kid, laboratory results and the many man hours it requires the school to conduct random drug testing.

    Statistical Data

    Various studies have been conducted in an effort to research the effect of drug testing on schools. One survey, financed by the federal government and conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, interviewed more than 70,000 students in 891 schools. The numbers seem to show that random drug testing has little, if any, effect on student drug use. Of students in the 12th grade at schools with testing, 37 percent said they had smoked pot. At schools where no drug testing was implemented, 36 percent reported using marijuana. According to the study, around 19 percent had a drug testing system in place, and the majority of these performed testing only when there was a suspicion of drug use.

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    About the Author

    K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.

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