Pubdate: Sun, 29 Jul 2001
Source: Log Cabin Democrat (AR)
Copyright: The Log Cabin Democrat
Author: Bruce L. Plopper


 From Bruce L. Plopper, Conway:

In addition to questions about the legality of Conway Public School's new 
drug-testing policy, Conway parents should know about the lack of published 
research concerning drug testing's effects and also about the damage that a 
drug-testing threat may cause to students.

First, I cannot find any documented evidence that drug testing actually 
decreases substance abuse among students in grades 7 through 12. Before we 
subject our children to this extreme experiment, such evidence should be 

Second, several reputable sources say drug testing may have unintended, 
negative consequences. One suggests the threat of drug testing might drive 
students away from extracurricular activities (populated by students least 
likely to abuse drugs) and toward a new group of friends whose recreation 
includes substance abuse. Another says it may be counterproductive to 
exclude youth who fail drug tests from participation in after school 
activities, since leaving them unsupervised during the critical after 
school hours may increase their likelihood of drug involvement.

A third says that additional negative outcomes of a drug-testing policy 
include 1) students switching to more exotic drugs they believe are less 
likely to be detected by simple drug tests, 2) increased mistrust and 
suspicion between students and school staff, 3) emotional harm to students 
with "false positives," and 4) risk to the school district of protracted 
legal action due to false positives.

While I applaud all those who have worked so hard to develop an anti- drug 
policy for our school system, I believe the Conway Board of Education 
should suspend its current policy immediately, take time to re-evaluate it, 
and wait for the U. S. Supreme Court to decide if it is legal.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens