KRISTIN SOMERS was sitting in her 10th-grade English class at
Hackettstown High last year when a call came over the intercom
telling her to report to the office. Immediately.
An honors student with a 3.8 average here in northwestern New Jersey,
she wasn't being summoned to discuss her academic performance. And
while she participates in an array of after-school organizations -
from soccer and softball to the National Honor Society and Key Club -
the issue wasn't her extracurricular activities or future plans.
Students are now on the front lines of the war on drugs. Whether it
be random, suspicionless student drug testing, or having police dogs
sniffing around school lockers for drugs, students are now feeling
the heavy-handedness of the government's efforts to keep them "drug-free."
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is trying to
persuade local educators across the country to apply random,
suspicionless drug tests by conducting regional summits. This policy
is unsupported by available science and opposed by leading experts in
As a parent of two children who graduated from Delaware Valley
Regional High School and an expert in the field of student drug
testing, I absolutely support random student drug testing as a
deterrent to help solve the problem of teenage drug use. I have been a
very active participant at the high school in a variety of capacities,
mostly with the school marching band as a chaperone, and can tell you
that every school in our state has an issue with student drug use; to
deny it is ludicrous and being ignorant to what peer pressure can do
to our children.
I have opposed random drug testing since it began two years ago at
Pequannock Township High School. My daughter had to agree to it to
join the tennis team. For her it is an unnecessary invasion of
privacy. Drug testing undermines the trust between my daughter and me,
built at home by example and by my active presence in her life. It is
not the school's responsibility to raise our daughter, but to teach
More distressing are the parents who sign their children up for
"voluntary" random testing, when it is not required for
extracurricular activities. Do the parents feel this somehow lets them
off the hook?
Student drug testing is needed in all the schools in the United
States. Our children are dying at an alarming rate in this country.
The weapon of mass destruction is right here; it's called addiction.
Schools need to step up and starting helping to fight this so-called
war rather then hiding it.
My own son was buying his cocaine in a special-ed classroom in a
suburb of Southern New Jersey. Maybe had they drug-tested him it
wouldn't have gone on as long as it did. It's not that I was in
denial; I had no idea what to look for and never thought he would use
Random drug testing for students is offensive. The "safety for the
children" argument is just not compelling; it has always been a
fundamental truism that the important thing is almost never "what is
done" but is always "who gets to decide what is done." Whether testing
is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion, but the parents should
be the ones who decide.
Liberals want to allow my daughter to have abortion on demand without
parental approval, and conservatives want to mandate drug testing
without parental approval. Yet, if my under-18 child harms another
person or destroys property, it is my wife and I who are responsible.
Does this make sense?
Students might feel better about random drug testing, and it would
seem fairer, if teachers, administrators and school board members were
also randomly tested. After all, we wouldn't want our kids entrusted
to anyone under such influences, would we?
As a 17-year-old junior at Montville Township High School, I find the
idea of random drug testing in schools to be a gross violation of
students' civil liberties.
School officials should certainly be able to take action based on
students' actual behavior during school hours, but it is not their
place to investigate students' irrelevant weekend activities.
Furthermore, extracurricular activities are an excellent alternative
to drug use, and pushing students away from them (either by making
consent forms mandatory in the first place or by punishing drug use)
only serves to take that alternative away from at-risk students.