Pubdate: Thu, 06 Dec 2007
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2007 Belleville News-Democrat
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Marquette Catholic High School in Alton began testing all of its 
students for drugs at the start of the school year, but you might not 
have even heard about it if we hadn't mentioned it in an article the other day.

A few years ago, such a policy would have prompted the kind of heated 
debates that we heard during the Mascoutah hugging flap. But today, 
people generally consider drug testing a routine matter. It's a 
requirement of employment at many businesses. And school is our 
children's version of a job.

It makes you wonder why more schools don't do it. Not just private 
schools, but public schools.

If we're serious about fighting the war against drugs to protect our 
children, this would be an effective weapon. Students thinking about 
experimenting with drugs or feeling pressure from their peers to do 
so might decide against it for fear of being caught. Students who do 
use drugs might be detected and get the help they need.

Schools probably could redirect money they already spend on student 
health and safety programs to drug testing.

But besides Marquette, Collinsville is the only other metro-east high 
school we're aware of that does drug testing, and that's just for athletes.

Arguably, athletes are at high risk. The lure of college scholarships 
and professional contracts has pushed many kids into using steroids 
and performance-enhancing drugs. Schools need to be proactive in 
detecting and stopping that.

But if your child was using drugs, wouldn't you want someone to tell 
you, regardless of whether he was on the football team?

If it's in the public interest to test one group of students for 
drugs, it makes sense to test them all.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom