Teachers And Drug Tests – Are They A Match?


We all know that drugs are a problem in our society in general. I don’t normally associate drugs with teachers and school staff though, do you? I recently read a report published by the University of New Hampshire on this topic. Apparently, the idea that teachers should undergo mandatory drug testing has been floating around.

The study quoted in the report shows, however, that there is reluctance in various sectors. The report states:

School superintendents are reluctant to drug test teachers, even though most believe student safety outweighs a teacher’s right to privacy when it comes to drug testing, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

The research is presented in the June 2008 issue of Teachers College Record in the article “To Test or Not To Test? Drug Testing Teachers: The View of the Superintendent.” The lead author is Todd DeMitchell, professor of education at UNH. Co-authors are Stephen Kossakoski, assistant superintendent with Supervisory Administrative Unit #16, Exeter, N.H.; and Tony Baldasaro, doctoral student of education at UNH and a school district improvement administrator with Supervisory Administrative Unit #16, Exeter.

So what are the findings? The report continues:

The key research findings include:
• 85 percent of superintendents do not believe drugs are a problem with their educators.
• 22 percent believe drug testing teachers is an effective means for combating drugs in schools.
• 70 percent agree that student safety outweighs a teacher’s right to privacy in drug testing.
• 48 percent believe teachers have a diminished expectation of privacy because they work with students.
• 71 percent believe that teachers hold “safety-sensitive” positions – a momentary lapse in judgment can have disastrous consequences.
• 48 percent support mandatory preemployment drug testing for teachers; 73 percent believing that such policies do not violate the constitutional rights of teachers.
• 35 percent support random drug testing of currently employed teachers; 59 percent believe random drug testing does not violate the constitutional rights of teachers.

I think I tend to lean towards the safe side. Though many teachers may not have the problem of drug abuse, it would be better if we were sure. More so, I don’t really think that it could be considered an invasion of privacy. As the results of the study indicate, teachers hold a sensitive position. It is for the good of everyone involved for them to certified drug free.

What do you think? Is this an invasion of privacy or is this a good idea?

Photo courtesy of SullyT64

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