Teachers & Drug Tests

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Random drug testing of teachers proves to be a sensitive matter. Many teachers are appalled at the thought of being drug tested without reason. Drug testing policies vary by school districts. Some test randomly, some test when a workplace accident or injury occurs and some test only when a teacher's behavior indicates the possibility of drug use.

Significance

  • Time.com reports that a study conducted by the U.S. Department Health and Human Services found that educators are among the least likely professionals to use illicit drugs. The study found that about 4 percent of all teachers used drugs in the month preceding the study questionnaire.

Funding

  • Random drug testing of teachers can be a costly endeavor. These funds could be better spent on education supplies or teacher salaries. School districts could save lots of money by only testing teachers who exhibit erratic or strange behavior.

Teacher Rights

  • "The Advocate" and WBRZ News 2 of Louisiana reports that teachers have successfully sued school districts for drug testing them following work-related accidents. In many cases like this, the courts have agreed that random drug testing of teachers violates one's civil rights. The National Education Association agrees that teachers only should be tested for drugs when behavioral evidence exists to support a suspicion of drug abuse.

Considerations

  • Prior to hire, most school districts fingerprint teachers and perform background checks. Some school districts also require a drug test before hiring teachers. Most teachers argue that this practice sufficiently weeds out unfit teachers, so no further testing is necessary.

Effects

  • If teachers are randomly drug-tested and the tests are found positive, some may lose their jobs for recreational drug use while others may be offered an opportunity to seek drug counseling. Drug testing of teachers may cause teachers unnecessary embarrassment and anxiety. Also, the testing can reveal private matters such as legal prescription drug use and pregnancy, according to the "Washington Times."

References

  • Photo Credit pills image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
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