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Random Drug Testing Should be Banned in Public Schools

Random drug testing in public schools should be banned because it is unfair, unconstitutional, and on top of that, it does not work.

I believe that drug testing, particularly random drug testing, should not be allowed in public schools for the following reasons.

My first reason supporting that random drug testing should not be allowed in public schools is because they simply do not work. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study which included over seventy six thousand students, grades eight through twelve. The results showed that random drug testing had no effect on student drug use. In fact, at a Californian high school, Shasta Union High, rates of student drug use went up.

My second reason is that the current technology of drug testing is fraught with error. There have been a number of incidents of false positive results caught after the student has been punished, and even more that have yet to be uncovered. If a student has eaten a poppy seed bagel prior to testing, they have high risk of resulting positive even if they have not taken any drugs. Also, the urinalysis test, the most common test, mainly focuses on marijuana. Other drugs such as cocaine and heroine only show up in test results if they have been taken within the last seventy two hours prior to testing. 

My third is that random drug testing can lead students to more risky behavior. The standard drug test currently does not detect many drugs frequently used by adolescents such as alcohol, MDMA (Ecstasy), or inhalants. The American Academy of Pediatrics, who support my opinion that random drug testing should not be allowed, warns that random drug testing may motivate students to switch from using drugs with relatively low levels of morbidity and mortality such as marijuana, to those that are not screened for, but which pose substantially greater risks to physical and mental health. 

Fourthly, this is a waste of money. Not only money, but the taxpayers’ money. Drug testing is imposed upon the student body (or a percentage of the student body in some schools) a few times a year, and for each of those, it is fifteen thousand dollars for the standard test. Since the test does not work, as I have shown in my previous arguments, this is indeed a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

My fifth reason is that this is a clear violation of the constitution. Random, suspicionless, drug testing is a violation of the fourth amendment, which states that no person is permitted to having themselves or their property searched without reason. Since this is unconstitutional, I find it shocking that this useless and wasteful (cost and time) policy is being upheld.

My sixth and final reason is that this is an invasion of privacy to students. Students must urinate in a cup in front of a strange adult, and let them take the urine for examination. They must also submit any medication they are currently taking. If a girl who is on birth control does not wish to reveal her usage of the drug to her parents – which she has every right to do according to the law – she must not only reveal it to her parents, but her school.

Drug testing, particularly random drug testing should not be allowed in public schools. While some may disagree, saying that a possible deterrent to student drug use should not be abolished, I argue that this should be, because it is unfair to the students, unconstitutional, and there is no reason to keep this unconstitutional policy if it has been shown to not be effective.

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