A new high stakes test: Woodward Academy will screen its students for drugs. Good idea for all schools?

Several Woodward Academy parents sent me notes a few weeks ago about a surprising letter that came home from the College Park private school announcing that students will be subjected to random drug tests starting in fall of 2013.

Those parents were not happy about the plan to test randomly selected students. Many private schools around the country   test their students for drugs, although there is debate over the efficacy of such policies.

One Woodward parent wrote: “I’m completely opposed to the  school’s decision…It’s interesting to note that all studies conducted in regards to student drug testing indicate that these programs are ineffective at reducing drug use.”  Another told me: “I am considering other schools for my son next year.”

I went to the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site for background on student drug testing and found this question and answer:

What has research determined about the utility of random drug tests in schools?

There is not very much research in this area, and the early research shows mixed results. A study published in 2007 (Goldberg et al, J. Adolesc Health, 41: 421-29, 2007) found that student athletes who participated in randomized drug testing had overall rates of drug use similar to students who did not take part in the program, and in fact some indicators of future drug abuse increased among those participating in the drug testing program. Because of the limited number of studies on this topic more research is warranted.

In 2011, researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that male students in high schools that drug test report no less recent use of alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes than peers in schools that don’t test. However, the study found that drug testing could be effective with female students, but only in schools “that have good social climates, where the students and adults respect each other and the rules of the school are clear and enforced fairly.”

At the time, study co-author Dan Romer, director of the Adolescent and Health Communication Institutes of APPC, said, “This study sends a cautionary note to the estimated 20 percent or more of high schools that have joined the drug testing bandwagon. We find little evidence that this approach to minimizing teen drug use is having the deterrent effect its proponents claim. And only in schools that have a very good school climate, reported by about a third of students, does this intervention exert a protective influence on adolescent girls. Schools that have joined the rush to implement testing should ask themselves whether this strategy has been oversold.”

If Woodward students fail their first urine test, they won’t be kicked out of the school. However, a second positive test for drugs will lead to the child’s withdrawal or dismissal from the school, according to the AJC story. In the story , the school says most parents are pleased with the policy.

If you were a parent, how would this decision sit with you?

Here is an excerpt of the AJC story on Woodward:

The elite private school where tuition is $21,950 a year will start random drug testing students in grades nine through 12 next fall. School President Stuart Gulley said the testing will be done not because there’s hard evidence of drug abuse at the school but because of a “large number of anecdotal accounts of drug use not just at Woodward, but throughout metro Atlanta.”

Students will be randomly selected and tested. The goal is to test 40 percent of the approximately 1,000 students at the academy’s high school level by the end of the year. Teachers and administrators — including Gulley — will also be randomly tested.

“There’s certainly the impulse to be aggressive about this,” said Paul Bianchi, the headmaster at the Paideia School, which instead of testing for drugs focuses on drug education. “But I think [random drug tests] create too much of an adversarial relationship in the school between adults and students.”

Woodward has no hard evidence of growing drug use by students, said Gulley, who can only remember two confirmed cases of students abusing drugs in his four years there. Still, parents have “overwhelmingly” embraced the testing plan, he said.

Suzy Ellis is one of them. “It gives students another opportunity to say ‘no’ to the peer pressure around them these days to do drugs,” said Ellis, whose daughter is a senior at the school. “They can say ‘no’ because my school tests for drugs and my parents might find out.”

Woodward says about half a dozen parents, such as Boyd Johnson, have questioned the testing. Johnson calls it an intrusion on “personal privacy rights and the parental role.”

“It’s almost guilty until proven innocent,” he said. “I think the school needs to be teaching the importance of privacy rights instead of having random drug testing.”

The tests, which will detect illegal and prescription drugs but not alcohol, will be administered about every two weeks. The results will be reported only to parents and the school’s administration.

Wesleyan Athletic Director Marc Khedouri adopted the random testing policy at the school when he was dean of students. He said it has reduced drug problems at Wesleyan and not hurt enrollment.

“We’ve probably talked to five or six other schools that are in the process of considering adopting a random testing policy,” he said. “Woodward isn’t the only one. There will be others.”

Like Paideia, some other private schools — including the Lovett School and Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School — are stressing drug education over testing.

The schools only test a student if there’s a strong suspicion that he has used drugs. “You’re not educating the student’s best self” when he is taking drugs, said Bianchi, Paideia’s headmaster. “… That’s part of the deal that you’re going to try hard and grow, academically and in personal ways. If you’re under the influence … not everyone is entering into a clear-minded contract.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has successfully sued public school districts in state and federal courts for violating students’ civil rights through random drug testing. Public schools now have to prove that drug use is a danger to students before testing them.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

122 comments Add your comment

Maureen Downey

October 2nd, 2012
11:10 am

@centrist, Not sure how drug testing is a liberal vs. conservative issue. For me, there are practical questions: Does it work? It’s fairly invasive — pulling kids out of class randomly and asking them to provide a urine sample is not a minor request.
It would seem logical to me to see if something works before using it.
But that’s just me.
And the discussion issue isn’t whether Woodward should do it; the school has already decided that. But whether the practice makes sense in general, and, if so, should it be used more widely?
Maureen

Aquagirl

October 2nd, 2012
11:21 am

It would seem logical to me to see if something works before using it.
But that’s just me.

Maureen, your mistake is thinking the policy is about the kids. It’s not. It’s about the parent’s feelings. If it makes them feel better whether it actually affects drug use among the students is completely irrelevant.

eraser clapper

October 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

all I ever hear is that private school’s don’t have drug issues like government schools. so good for Woodward for stepping up and leading this.
When, not if, a student or teacher gets “popped” for being dirty. I hope the school takes time to educate kids on the some of the root causes of drug addiction in America, whether it’s prescription drugs or illegal. we will then lift the vail of drugs are only an issue in government schools.

Lexi

October 2nd, 2012
11:28 am

Seems to me that the intrusion is minor. My children attend another private school and participate in athletics. They (along with all other students) are required to undergo baseline testing for concussions which takes more effort than eliminating nitrogen in a cup.

I trust that the school administrators, who have a dog in the fight, are in a better position than semi-professional opiners (who freely make decisions involving others’ money and rights) to determine the relative efficacy of the test and make a proper cost-benefit determination. And, for private schools, it’s simply a matter of contract. If a parents objects to the term of the contract authorizing testing, that parent is free to move her child to another school.

Seems as though some folks are always finding surveys, often of suspect validity done by people with hidden agendas, to advance their own conclusions and reinforce their own opinions. Not your father’s science.

get real

October 2nd, 2012
11:28 am

Woodward needs to prepare for the spike in alcohol related incidents this new policy will certainly drive while at the same time prepare themselves to be the next case study of ineffective drug policy and parental hubris.

a reader

October 2nd, 2012
11:42 am

the intrusion is only minor if the school can completely handle this in house (either public or private). And I do agree that when I have a kid in private school I agree to *THEIR RULES*.

The problem here, though, is that the school rule may be unfortunately coming up against a new GA provision that requires reporting at the state level *EVEN* from private schools (as well as from public).

Do you want your school, public OR private, to test for drugs if a positive test results in not just an in-house issue but also a report to the state of GA and DDS, etc.?

Centrist

October 2nd, 2012
11:56 am

You must have posted your 11:10 am comment before reading my 10:59 am expanded comment.

Drug testing in schools is no more “invasive” than in the workplace where it is done routinely. Isn’t school meant to be a preparation for later life? It works for businesses, the military, and many private and public schools (with individual parental authorization) – but liberals like you put up straw dog arguments like “see if something works before using it”.

flipper

October 2nd, 2012
12:00 pm

Some Woodward kid who doesn’t do drugs for one reason or another (maybe because he’s Woodward Dad’s kid and gets tested at home) is going to make a mint selling clean urine to his pothead friends.

Larry M

October 2nd, 2012
12:02 pm

As a Woodward alum (who attend the school for 10+ years and loved it), I am completely disgusted by this policy change. Congratulations, President Gulley – you have just debased Woodward’s image. Your argument that Woodward doesn’t have a drug problem… but we need to test anyway doesn’t hold any logical water. Yes, Woodward is private therefore they can test whomever they want for whatever reason (or, apparently, no reason whatsoever if you believe Woodward). That doesn’t make it right or mean you should do it.

Any thoughts I may have had of sending my kids there is now gone and I will be sure to let Woodward know.

Water From Heaven

October 2nd, 2012
12:10 pm

Questions for those that oppose random testing: If you are presented with second-hand information (either from your child’s friend, another parent, etc) that your child has been using drugs, would you ignore it? Would you say to them, “How dare you betray my child by giving me this information?”

I am bewildered why any parent would be opposed to anything that would give them insight as to what their child may be doing that is detrimental to their well being.

Maureen, I typically agree with you but producing urine is a minor request and not invasive. I’m 100% certain that my two kids have done this everyday of their lives and when they were little at times when I wish they didn’t.

We need more parents like Woodward Dad and Fred.

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
12:18 pm

Any thoughts I may have had of sending my kids there is now gone and I will be sure to let Woodward know.

Thanks Larry. I don’t want your pothead children selling drugs to my daughter anyway.

Centrist

October 2nd, 2012
12:19 pm

The parents who say they will rethink Woodward will make somebody on the waiting list happy – except parents who like this policy may be adding their kids to the waiting list.

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
12:21 pm

A reader,

I think the reporting to law enforcement is only if the illegal act is made on school property. Someone would have to be seen using or dispensing a controlled substance on the school property before any reporting is required. I don’t think finding a substance in a students, teachers or administrators “precious bodily fluids” would meet that test. But again, I’m not an attorney.

But I have to ask, isn’t any illegal act still illegal even if committed on private property? You can’t assault someone on private property and use that as a defense. You are still “in the public eye.” How could using drugs publicly on school property, whether a public or private school, be any less illegal? I know it is a slippery slope but there has to be some reasonable level of protection of the public. Whatever activity you do in the privacy of you home is your business, that is until that activity has a negative impact on the public when you leave the privacy of your home. I would suggest that maybe the existing law needs further review if it appears local law enforcement is being overwhelmed with notices from school administrators of students using or dispensing controlled substances on campuses. Of course that’s assuming all administrators are following the law. I’m just sayin.

We are all opining strongly on this issue while we still have “parents” who lock their children in a closet for years and evidently believe that is their prerogative as a “parent”. Now there’s a couple that have bigger problems than any random drug test will solve.

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
12:22 pm

As long as they don’t test the parents I’m all down with this idea…………. :lol:

wolfman

October 2nd, 2012
12:24 pm

Many companies drug test. If you use drugs don’t apply. If you don’t want to be drug tested, find another school. As for the studies how do they know that drug use among students of schools that drug test are similar to those that don’t? They walk down the halls and ask? At least the schools that drug test will know what their problems are.

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
12:27 pm

Oh but to the other part of your question Maureen? I don’t think it is a good idea for public schools. We need to quit finding reasons NOT to educate children.

Entitlement Society

October 2nd, 2012
12:27 pm

OK, so this Annenburg Public Policy Study says “Research conducted with over 940 high school students in two nationally representative surveys finds that male students in high schools that conduct student drug testing report no less recent use of alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes than male students in schools without drug testing.”

The study looked at 14-19 year olds in 2007-8 and is now looking at RECENT use. Do the math people. These “studies” can manipulate numbers and words to present whatever hidden agenda they want to. This blog post is about testing for ILLEGAL DRUGS, not cigarettes, not alcohol. When you add 4 or 5 years (to get us to “recent” times), the majority of those 14-19 year olds they surveyed are now 21+ and can legally consume both cigarettes and alcohol, so the relevancy of this statement is really much less impactful. So they were tested for drugs in high school and now they legally drink alcohol, so what?

Jim Chaput

October 2nd, 2012
12:30 pm

A fanatic is one who redoubles his efforts when he loses sight of his goal, and there is an awful lot of anti-drug fanaticism expressed here. Are you people really willing to trash these kids lives, to put them in jail, and raise them in a prison atmosphere out of fear that they might possibly be smoking pot? Out of all the myriad problems afflicting our society, can you honestly say that the possibility that teenagers might be smoking pot is the most important, or the easiest to solve?

The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution for good reasons, and over the years we have paid for it in blood. Are you people really willing to excise the 4th Amendment because somebody, somewhere might have smoked a home-made cigarette last weekend? Do you really think that these intrusive, random searches conducted with no pretense of probable cause will do anything to strengthen our society?

vince

October 2nd, 2012
12:36 pm

Maybe it is a good idea. My wife’s parents sent her, and her siblings, to a ritzy private high school for a couple of years when they heard there was a problem with drugs in their local public high school. As it turned out, my wife and her sisters found that drug use was much more prevalent in the private school because the kids had more “disposable income.”.

If parents don’t like the idea they can take their kids somewhere else.

Larry M

October 2nd, 2012
12:36 pm

Fred,

Maybe if you actually decided to do some parenting, your daughter wouldn’t be interested in buying drugs from my “pothead children” in the first place. But why do the work of parenting your child when you can rely on Woodward to do it for you through invasive searches of your daughter’s person?

Head Scratcher

October 2nd, 2012
12:40 pm

I’m not sure where some of you are employed. But drug tests are not routinely administered. Job applicants go to these sort of minute clinics for drug testing following job interviews. After hired, if a manager cares enough to suspect an employee of illegal drug use or substance abuse they may report employees to Human Resource Departments who then send employees to be tested.

Drug testing is outsourced most places because it is an unnecessary expense.

Rick C

October 2nd, 2012
12:50 pm

Woodward Dad, how can you agree with the testing of teachers if you think what people do in their own homes is their business? It’s not like a drug test only comes back positive when someone is under the influence. Depending on the drug, it can remain in the system for days or even weeks.

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
12:50 pm

Larry M

October 2nd, 2012
12:36 pm

Fred,

Maybe if you actually decided to do some parenting, your daughter wouldn’t be interested in buying drugs from my “pothead children” in the first place. But why do the work of parenting your child when you can rely on Woodward to do it for you through invasive searches of your daughter’s person?
+++++++++++++++++++++

Nice try Larry boy, but I’m not buying it. Professionals more qualified than you have tried and failed to play travel agent to get me to board the shame train for a guilt trip.

You see Larry M, (and I don’t buy your Woodward Alum lie. If you were you would know the card to play that THEY would listen to is the donation card as they solicit the hell out of alums for donations), I’m not worried about my daughter. It’s YOUR unsupervised pothead kids I’m concerned about. I don’t pay 20 grand so she has to deal with folks like you. Thanks for playing.

Centrist

October 2nd, 2012
12:59 pm

@ Head Scratcher – Most fortune 500 companies do random drug tests, the military, and all companies involved in transportation. You might want to look at this list: http://www.testclear.com/dtcompanies/companyresults.aspx

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
1:02 pm

I was waiting for someone to bring up the 4th amendment argument. Frankly, I suspected someone to propose this was an Agenda 21 plot or some fallout from the unsuccessful TSPLOST vote.

The 4th amendment protects us from “unreasonable searches or seizures” unless getting a warrant “describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Well this is a very public description of the place (Woodward Academy) and the persons (students, faculty and staff). So no one is being forced to take the drug test by the government. If you don’t want to be subjected to a random test (your chances are 4 in 10 of being picked) then either don’t take illegal substances or go to another school that chooses not to check to see if students or adults are coming to school under the influence of a controlled substance.

Anyway you look at it, you still have the choice. Public schools may be different, but private schools can dictate a code of conduct that may be more restrictive than some people like. But that is by choice.

As for the Woodward alum who won’t send his children to Woodward because of the random drug test, I’m sorry you feel that way. There were probably some GMA alums who thought the same when Col. Woodward started admitting females and integrated. If you know anything about how Woodward works, you know Dr. Gulley didn’t just think of this idea one day and implement it the next. He has a Board of very prominent and thoughtful leaders from throughout Atlanta and the nation who he reports to. This decision was made with considerable deliberation. You don’t survive for over 100 years and become the largest independent non-boarding private institution in the continental US without having bold and thoughtful leadership. You know what Woodward gave you. So you will deny that opportunity to your children?

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
1:05 pm

If you know anything about how Woodward works, you know Dr. Gulley didn’t just think of this idea one day and implement it the next. He has a Board of very prominent and thoughtful leaders from throughout Atlanta and the nation who he reports to.

He even talked to my wife about it lol.

Larry M

October 2nd, 2012
1:09 pm

It’s ok, Fred. I’ll stop. I can see I’ve touched a nerve here on your parenting and, apparently, the many questions others have raised about it. Who knows; maybe Woodward’s drug testing regime fits right into your parenting plan for your daughter: “Speak only when spoken to, don’t ask questions, don’t challenge authority, do as your told. Now go help your mom fold the laundry.”

When I was at WA, we had some teachers who encouraged questions and critical thinking. The motto used to be “Every opportunity for every student.” I guess they need to change that one – “Every opportunity for every student.* (*subject to testing and approval)”.

Rick C

October 2nd, 2012
1:10 pm

“or go to another school that chooses not to check to see if students or adults are coming to school under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Woodward Dad, again, a positive drug test does not mean the person is under the influence at that time. Depending on the drug, a test could show positive even weeks after last using the drug.

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
1:15 pm

Larry M, you haven’t been correct yet on me OR my daughter. You HAVE been caught out though. We get that you are mad that if you send your pothead kids to Woodward that they will be found out. Well actually you’re mad that YOU would have to stop smoking pot in the house and giving them that contact high…………. LOL dude you crack me up.

I WOULD try to be “witty” and remind you to ask your customers if they want fries with their Big Mac but alas, McDonald’s drug tests………….

Head Scratcher

October 2nd, 2012
1:19 pm

@Centrist,

If memory serves me correctly, you often seem to miss the point and then justify a limited argument by inserting some obscure link. What is missing from the site that you posted is any data that documents ‘RANDOM’ testing. They test potential hires. If you submit a job application and are offered a position, you are notified that ‘COMPANY A’ is a drug free environment and you must be drug tested prior to starting. But once you’re in, the likelihood that you’ll be tested again without suspicion resembles that odds of which you’ll win the lottery.

And again, it is outsourced. Why would Woodward Academy keep a staff person who can properly collect urine samples from minors and either test them on-site or ship them to an outside company who will? It . . . makes . . . little . . . to . . . no . . . sense!

In a preparatory school environment like that, teachers are likely to notice bizarre behavior of some sort from their students. And most of the teachers are practically on a first name basis with their students’ parents. They are capable of telling their students’ parents when something is “off” and getting parents involved. Which is likely what already goes on now.

Larry M

October 2nd, 2012
1:22 pm

Woodward Dad,

Believe me, I loved my experience at Woodward. The best thing about Woodward was the teachers – they actually taught critical thinking, not just regurgitation of pointless facts. I am extremely disappointed in this policy change for both personal and libertarian reasons. I would love to have sent my kids there. But I will not subject them to such an environment where everyone is under suspicion, regardless of the evidence presented. Woodward is completely within their legal and constitutional rights to do this – but that doesn’t mean they should.

I’m sure this idea was fully vetted with the Board of Governors, etc. But again, why do this when there is no evidence of a problem? Not to mention no evidence in support of the efficacy of the “solution” to solve the supposed non-existent problem. Are you seeing the logical problems here?

You cannot compare implementing a search of your bodily fluids to integration and admission of women to GMA, come on. The latter actually expanded individual freedom, not curtailed it.

David E.

October 2nd, 2012
1:28 pm

Read between the lines a little bit here. “Woodward has no hard evidence of growing drug use by students.” What are they defining as “hard evidence?” The reality is that, among high school students in the private school community, Woodward has earned the nickname “Weedward,” and they’re trying to nip that in the bud.
Also, for those of you so interested in the overall Fourth Amendment rights of the young people involved, look at another reality here. A private school is going to drug test a bunch of overprivileged rich kids. They won’t get much sympathy from me. Heck, while they’re at it, why not search the new BMWs in the student parking lot too?

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
1:36 pm

Fred,

Sounds like Dr. Gulley went to the highest source for enlightenment. LOL I heard he took a survey at the Brake Pad too! (just kidding)

Larry M,

Woodward still does give “Every opportunity for every student” and “teaches the child” and doesn’t just “teach the subject”. And no, my kids don’t speak only when spoken to and worse, don’t help fold the laundry (my wife makes me do that). But as you know, Woodward does expect students to follow the published rules (we still have a “Dean of Discipline”). She is probably the same one you had when you attended WA.

Life is about adapting successfully to our surroundings. Unfortunately some schools choose to adapt in reverse. Mommy and daddy won’t be there when the employer says go take a drug test or your fired. Mommy and daddy won’t be there when a cohort gets promoted because they had a masters degree and little Johnny didn’t. Mommy and daddy won’t be there when the boss says “I don’t care if flip-flops are fashionable, you come to work dressed professionally or your fired.” I’d rather have my children learn to adapt now than wait until the cruel world hits them right between the eyes. (Besides we want to downsize and having twenty somethings at home don’t fit into that scenario.)

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
1:41 pm

WDAD,

……….. But I have to ask, isn’t any illegal act still illegal even if committed on private property? You can’t assault someone on private property and use that as a defense. You are still “in the public eye.” How could using drugs publicly on school property, whether a public or private school, be any less illegal? I know it is a slippery slope but there has to be some reasonable level of protection of the public………….

Drug issues are a health issue that is the problem with your analogy. Do you really equate a high school kid smoking pot with and assault? I am a parent so I get the problem, but the bigger issue is do we really want the law enforcement dealing with parental issues?

Centrist

October 2nd, 2012
1:48 pm

@ Head Scratcher – Unlike you, I don’t make this stuff up to fit my stance but the other way around. “Over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies require drug and alcohol testing of their employees. These companies understand that substance-abuse costs industry over $165,000,000,000 annually in loss of productivity, theft, accidents, absenteeism, increased workers’ compensation, and health care. They also know that drug and alcohol testing works, and that the implementation of a drug testing program significantly reduces positive test-results. It screens new employees for substance abuse, and identifies employees who may need treatment.”

Random drug and alcohol testing is required of safety-sensitive transportation employees in aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and other transportation industries. The same holds true for The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and commercial nuclear power industry. Drug testing has been upheld for customs officers who are directly involved in drug interdiction, and for employees who are required to carry firearms. I’m sure in addition to the military there are other industries that outright require it on top of those who voluntarily random test.

Your pretending it is not a common occurrence outside of small businesses is not helping the liberal argument against testing in public schools.

bootney farnsworth

October 2nd, 2012
1:49 pm

@ Woodward Dad

the jews obeyed the rules – look what happened to them.

society is paved with the debris of people who followed the rules and
got run over by society.

bootney farnsworth

October 2nd, 2012
1:51 pm

its really stupid to equate private school to real life / workplace behavior.

bootney farnsworth

October 2nd, 2012
1:58 pm

part of what bothers me about this is the defacto imposition it puts on people’s private lives.

while there is no place for a stoned teacher or student, what they do on their own time is and should be their business. or in the case of the students, what their parents allow.

bootney farnsworth

October 2nd, 2012
2:04 pm

@ centrist

2 things

-most businesses in the US are small businesses. so the bulk of the working population is free from this intrusion.

-I worked for the state of Ga for over 20 years. random testing was not allowed without documented suspicion. only the very few highly sensitive jobs had an acception to this.

bootney farnsworth

October 2nd, 2012
2:06 pm

the oly way this makes sense is if there is a problem at Woodward and they are trying to get out in front of it publicity wise

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
2:06 pm

John,

I’m not arguing health or parental responsibility. I’m just stating what the law is. Under Georgia law, illegal use of a controlled substance is either a misdemeanor or a felony. The law doesn’t say “depending on age.” And no, I personally don’t equate a kid smoking pot with assault. But neither do I equate stealing a $550 flat screen TV with stealing a $75,000 Lexus. But Georgia law says they are one in the same. That is why we have courts and judges. The point I am trying to make (and apparently not doing a very good job at it) is there are rules we have to live by and our kids need to understand there are consequences for ignoring the rules/laws. If you will get into trouble by using illegal substances, beware the consequences. And at Woodward, you will be randomly tested for drug abuse starting next year.

FJ

October 2nd, 2012
2:06 pm

I think this is so odd. I agree with the poster that pointed out that this will lead to a lot more drinking and other hard drugs that don’t stay in the system nearly as long. I would much rather my kids smoke a little pot every now and then than get wasted, get in the car with wasted friends, or start experimenting with things like cocaine and pills. I also agree with the poster that said it sets up an environment of distrust and animosity. I am a private school parent and I would raise holy hell if they told us they were implementing this policy. Fortunately it is a progressive school and I don’t think this would ever fly.

Aquagirl

October 2nd, 2012
2:07 pm

Life is about adapting successfully to our surroundings.

Well said. I’m sure the hardcore druggies will adapt quickly and remain right there next to your kid in class.

Drug testing works….IF it’s a comprehensive, airtight program. As someone already pointed out there is some enterprising kid who will make a mint selling clean urine to the regular users. Woodward will bust a couple of kids who experiment and the parents can all rejoice in the knowledge it’s all unicorns and rainbows in their drug-free school.

AlreadySheared

October 2nd, 2012
2:14 pm

Well, a hit dog will holler.

I take advil when I have a headache because it stops the pain. Why the enthusiasm among some posters here for recreational drugs?

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
2:27 pm

Wdad,

……..I’m not arguing health or parental responsibility. I’m just stating what the law is. Under Georgia law, illegal use of a controlled substance is either a misdemeanor or a felony. The law doesn’t say “depending on age.” And no, I personally don’t equate a kid smoking pot with assault. But neither do I equate stealing a $550 flat screen TV with stealing a $75,000 Lexus. But Georgia law says they are one in the same. That is why we have courts and judges. The point I am trying to make (and apparently not doing a very good job at it) is there are rules we have to live by and our kids need to understand there are consequences for ignoring the rules/laws. If you will get into trouble by using illegal substances, beware the consequences. And at Woodward, you will be randomly tested for drug abuse starting next year…

I want to make it clear as a private school they can do what they want. This post was about expanding this to public schools. And my fear is this will only add to the failed “War on Drug” policy that especially hurts working class families. A study at Ohio State claims this is one of the highest contributors to the increase in poverty. I would be against this policy until we start treating the issue as a health problem not a “Scarlet Letter” for life. I find it even more hypocritical, because many pushing the policy had the same youthful mistakes, and under the same policy I wonder how their life would of turned out?

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
2:35 pm

farnsworth,

You said “the jews obeyed the rules – look what happened to them.” I’m sorry but you have to explain that one to me. God gave them the 10 Commandments so they would know right from wrong? Is that what you meant? I don’t get it. If the Pharaoh had obeyed the rules of nature he wouldn’t have sent his army into the parted Red Sea? Is that it?

You also said “society is paved with the debris of people who followed the rules and
got run over by society.” No, as Albert Einstein said, “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” I’m hopefully preparing my kids to play the game better than anyone else.

I’m still vexed by your first comment though????

AngryRedMarsWoman

October 2nd, 2012
2:37 pm

“Questions for those that oppose random testing: If you are presented with second-hand information (either from your child’s friend, another parent, etc) that your child has been using drugs, would you ignore it? Would you say to them, “How dare you betray my child by giving me this information?”

No. I would listen and then investigate. If I thought there was adequate evidence at hand to warrant testing my child I would do so. Similarly, my son’s school can test him if they have reasonable suspicion. The specter of random testing doesn’t do much to prevent drug use. The kids who won’t use just won’t use. The kids who use will either believe they won’t be tested or they will find a way around the test (not all drugs are picked up in a urine test). There is a false sense of security created by random testing, a sense that the kids will be too scared to use, and it just doesn’t play out that way. As I said earlier, I want the adults at my school to be active and present in the lives of my son and his schoolmates – reasonable suspicion testing, attentive teachers/admin and involved parents will do more to squash drug use than random testing will.

Everyone keeps bringing up employment-based testing as if they are all subject to random testing throughout the course of their careers. Save for those in certain positions (like DOT drivers, police, military and the like), most people will face a test when they are offered employment and not thereafter unless there is reasonable suspicion. I invite you to check the law – both federal and state – and see for yourself…if you are not in a safety-sensitive position and your employer is making you pee in a cup all the time then you have a good lawsuit on your hands.

Woodward Dad

October 2nd, 2012
2:45 pm

John,

I agree with you. Well put. My kids went to public schools for only a short time so I can’t comment on the environment in public schools today. It is easier to deal with a school of 2,000 students than a public system with over 1 million. This is a huge issue that has no easy macro fix, or frankly, it would have been solved by now. However, at the micro level, at a school that can remove you from its premises for unacceptable behavior, this policy may work. For those attending or thinking about attending Woodward, at least they know the policy going forward and can make an educated decision on whether to attend or not. For me, I see it as a positive. Have a great day.

Head Scratcher

October 2nd, 2012
2:50 pm

@Centrist,

As usual, everything you don’t agree with seems to be “liberal.” I appreciate you “liberally” cutting and pasting a passage that you no doubt found somewhere else. (Cite your sources next time!) I’ve had the fortune to work in two of the fields that you so broadly referenced above. In my experience, the drug testing was conducted upon entry to the workplace (prior to Day 1) and triggered by incidents. (On the job or off the job.) There is nothing random about that.

However, in this case, (or so I’ve read . . I hope I have the facts scrambled), administrators at Woodward Academy are going to randomly select members of the student body and have them provide a urine sample. Bear in mind, firearms are forbidden, they don’t operate heavy machinery or commercial vehicles, and unless they have a Chemistry Professor with a liberal agenda (Of course!) they won’t be handling nuclear material. Students’ families pay to attend Woodward Academy. The examples of losses that you so eloquently “borrowed” (liberally) do not apply. Therefore, the rationale for instituting this policy makes no sense.

flipper

October 2nd, 2012
3:10 pm

Oh …. Woodward Dad… If your kids are smart… they will “learn the rules of the game and then play the game better than everyone else” by making great money selling their clean urine to potheads. Or maybe some kids smarter than they are will figure it out and they will be the ones making the money.

Woodward can clearly do what it wants in this regard. It appears that most folks are on board with the policy over there. However, it’s a stupid policy. Alcohol abuse is a far worse and more dangerous problem than marijuana abuse and there is no way to test to see if a kid (maybe Woodward Dad’s kid) got knee walking drunk last Saturday night… and the Saturday before… and the Saturday before that.

Teen unsafe sex and promiscuous sex is also a dangerous problem – again.. more dangerous than pot. However, Woodward does not have a way to test for either of these things, so Woodward Dad and the other Woodward parents will have no way to know if their daughter or son took part in a teen orgy last Saturday night… or the Saturday before.

That is why this is a stupid policy. All these parents will “rest easy” knowing that their kids definitely (if they didn’t figure out how to jack the test) smoke pot last month. Meanwhile their kids could be engaging in much more dangerous behavior without any chance of being caught by the school.