Drug testing is becoming standard in many industries (sports players are a relatively recent example of this) as well as among high school students. As a result even jobs that had previously been unlikely to have to deal with drug testing are now being considered for it. The debate over testing teachers has been brought up on and off over the last several years, since drug testing has begun in students the interest in testing teachers has arisen again. While there are some schools that test teachers they are by and large a relatively small section of the many schools in the US. This means that a student is far more likely to be required to undergo testing than teachers are.
Why is There Such a Debate?
The highest concern about testing teachers is whether or not their right to privacy might be being violated unjustly. Why test so many if only a small percentage actually abuse drugs? After all the recent drug testing conducted for steroid use in Texas proved that a very small percentage of students actually abused steroids, meaning that many of those who were being tested had no reason to be tested. This in essence means that a lot of funding was used to conduct testing without much real cause.
In response to this many parents state that drug testing should be done to verify their children aren’t being endangered. Even the smallest chance that a teacher might be under the influence seems too much of a risk and should be prevented.
To be fair there have been incidents that seem to prove that drug testing could be a warranted measure. There have been several cases where teachers were proven to be abusing drugs ( in states like Hawaii and West Virginia for example) and subsequently arrested.
How Would Drug Testing Help?
The overall goal seems to be to remove any undesired drug use from the school. By randomly testing the faculty it’s hoped that the teachers who would be caught in the act could then be removed from the school before their use caused any problems for the students or other faculty. The only real question here is would it truly be worth it? While it would have a very good chance of rooting out those teachers that were abusing drugs, just how many of them would there be? If there were about 140 tests done and out of those tested only about 4 came back positive how much of an investment would that be for a minimal return? While it could be argued that drug testing costs less than it did when it became available and that other jobs (in particular those regulated by the Department of Transportation) have done so for several years it still seems quite a cost to root out so few.
Is this the best regulation to pursue at a time when integral programs like music and art are being cut down or out of schools? Have we forgotten that many teachers are providing items for their students out of dwindling salaries because the school will not or cannot provide them out of theirs?