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The Scoop 5-5
Teachers should be drug tested
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In last week's column, I talked about how our school system is just like any other segment of society. It contains people geared for success and others who are geared for as little as possible.
This being the case, I think it's time for teachers to be drug tested, just like every other segment of society. There's no reason for teachers to have a Captain America shield that keeps them in a protective bubble.
Since we published the story about a fifth-grade teacher getting arrested at school for buying drugs in the parking lot, the overwhelming question I've been asked is "Why aren't teachers drug tested?"
Many people from all different professions have approached me and brought up the fact they are drug tested at work. If they're drug tested, they say, then teachers should be drug tested too.
I couldn't agree more. If we're going to say students don't need to be on drugs because it impacts their ability to learn, they the next logical assumption is teachers don't need to be on drug because it impacts their ability to teach.
Our teachers don't need to wander the halls in a drug-induced haze. They need to be sharp. They need to report to school with their A game.
In an unscientific online reader survey conducted by the Standard, 89 percent of respondents said teachers should face mandatory drug tests, while 11 percent said they should not.
If you're wondering about the 11 percent who voted no, it's probably teachers. In the years I've been covering local education issues, teachers have always fully and completely refused drug testing.
I remember sitting in a School Board meeting around 12 years ago and listening to teacher's union representatives say in the strongest of words how they would not consent to drug testing of any sort. They wanted no drug testing at all. Zilch.
I always thought this was odd. What were they trying to hide? Perhaps recent events are giving us a glimpse of why teachers are not eager to get caught anywhere near a drug test.
Unfortunately, government entities operate under a different set of rules than the rest of the world. While I could be made to take a drug test tomorrow, teachers and other government employees cannot. This type of blanket requirement has been found to be unconstitutional by our court system as a violation of privacy.
Equally disturbing is the fact government employees like teachers and lawmakers are the people who need to be drug tested perhaps more than anyone else.
Teachers have our children in their hands each and every school day. We often take this for granted as we're dropping them off at school or putting them on a bus, but this is a weighty responsibility. Taking steps to ensure teachers are drug free seems perfectly sensible.
If our school system is a segment of society just like any other, teachers should be given drug tests just like everyone else. They shouldn't be protected by a government force field.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.