Drug testing is normal procedure in a number of circumstances. In fact, we have whole institutions set up around drug testing Olympic and professional athletes as well as those at the collegiate level where money and potential careers are on the line. However, now the practice has moved down into high schools. In nine states, it is now mandatory for participation in extracurricular activities in junior high, and some parents are saying things have gone too far. They believe there are far better ways to keep kids off drugs than providing mandatory drug testing only to the kids involved in activities.
Parents Say Drug Testing Is a Violation of Constitutional Rights
Principal Lane Warner of Pleasant Middle School in Marion, Ohio says that although drug testing in middle school may catch some parents off guard, the policy is working by reducing drug use among students. It is not only athletes who are tested. In fact, drugs tests are given to anyone participating in any extracurricular activity. For Alexis Kiederer of Milford, PA, this meant she had to submit to a test in order to join the scrapbooking club.
Alexis’s parents put their foot down and refused to allow their daughter to be drug tested. They felt this violated her constitutional rights.
Kathy Keiderer, Alexis’s mom, said: “I get that it’s easy to pee in a cup, but giving up your constitutional rights just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
Principal Claims Drug Testing Student Athletes Works
Principal Warner believes that the random drug testing of junior high athletes and club members is an effective strategy to stop drug use. He points out that in six years, there has only been one positive drug test. However, no one knows what the numbers were before the drug testing started, so there is no way to say athletes have tested clean because they fear the random testing or because, in general, students who participate in sports experiment less with drugs. Further study is necessary to know for sure if random drug testing is a cause of the low rates of student athlete drug use at Warner’s school or not.
In the meantime, the Kiederers in Delaware have won an injunction that prevents her daughter’s school from enforcing the drug testing policy until the case is heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court already ruled that drug testing of high school athletes is constitutional, so the Kiederers may have a long fight on their hands.
Do you think random drug testing of middle schoolers is constitutional? Would you – or have you – allowed your child to be drug tested at school in order to be included in afterschool activities? Share your experience below.