A school district in Clark County, Indiana, will soon be randomly drug testing students who want to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, band, and driving to school.
“Henryville High School and Borden High School will randomly select ten students each quarter and test them for ten drugs that teenagers are most likely to use,” local ABC 13 reported.
“If students test positive, they will be ineligible for one-third of scheduled extracurricular activities after the first offense.
“After the third offense, the student will become ineligible for the rest of their high school career.”
While some parents support the new policy and hope it will discourage students from bringing drugs to school, others, like Lance Leach, feel it is too invasive. “There has to be a reasoning, and you have to talk to a parent beforehand,” he said. “Like suspicious behavior or they got caught doing something, then maybe, but not just random drug testing.“
The ACLU agrees. The civil liberties organization has long fought against drug testing in schools. In 1998, the organization attempted to challenge drug testing for afterschool activities in Indiana schools, but the Supreme Court refused to hear their arguments. The following year, they challenged an Oklahoma school district, arguing in that case, the after school activities were directly linked with coursework throughout the normal day, and that drug testing infringed on students’ “right to a public education, as well as of the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure,” the New York Times reported at the time.
In 2002, however, the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional for schools to drug test students participating in extracurricular activities because it was an effective method of deterring drug use. This assessment turned out to be untrue. The Washington Post examined one 2013 study that “looked at 14 years of data on student drug use and found that school drug testing was associated with ‘moderately lower marijuana use,’ but increased use of other, more dangerous illicit drugs.”
Another study found “drug testing was ‘was not associated with changes in substance use.’”
Over the years, a number of other experts have expressed their opposition to the practice over legal concerns and the sheer fact that it doesn’t work. The ACLU has cited the American Academy of Pediatrics, while other doctors have also expressed skepticism.
Nevertheless, in 2015, nearly one in five public high schools had drug testing policies in place:
“[A] nationally-representative survey of 1,300 school districts found that among the districts with drug testing programs, 28 percent randomly tested all students — not just ones participating in after-school programs. These schools are opening themselves up to a legal challenge.”
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