Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jun 2004
Source: Star-Banner, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Star-Banner
Author: Stephen Heath


Your recent editorial correctly noted several problems related to
coerced drug-testing of students, yet you conclude with the tired old
saw, " . . . if (drug testing) can save one child, it will be worth
the effort."

What if that one child saved is at the expense of many others
receiving false information? Since drug testing of students has been
going on for several years now, there's plenty of evidence that
concludes it doesn't actually deter drug use by students.

Thus, claims by either Superintendent Jim Yancey, or anyone else,
endorsing such tests that this program might deter use or that this
program might give students another reason to say "no" to drugs is
spreading false information.

Additionally, the proposed program only tests for illegal drugs. This
delivers a sideways message to teens that only illegal drug use is
risky. Meanwhile, no testing is done for the most addictive and the
most commonly abused drugs by teens - tobacco and alcohol.

As a Florida parent of three (ages 21, 18 and 16), you can count me as
one parent who definitely discourages drug testing of students. If I
want to know whether they are using drugs, I don't need the school to
inspect their urine. Instead, I prefer to use a more direct approach.
I ask them.

The only logical reason a teen will lie is if they don't trust the
person asking the question. If my relationship with my teens is
lacking in trust, I have work to do.

Talk to your children about drugs and be prepared with truthful and
accurate answers to their questions. It will pay much better long term
than demanding to see their urine, or worse, having a stranger at
school do the dirty work for you.


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