Why I’m Standing Up Against Random Drug Testing at My High School

The piece of advice I heard most often before entering, and during, high school came in two words: “get involved.” Extracurricular activities, I was told, give students a chance to better the school, meet new people and make the most of their four years. I took the advice to heart and got involved in numerous ways. I’ve written for my school newspaper, helped out with the production of musicals, and even traveled abroad through a school club. I was later inducted into the French Honor Society and the National Honor Society. Last year, I even co-founded the school’s first philosophy club.

But this year I am barred from participating in any of it. The irony is that my school has made me ineligible for any extracurricular activity for what they believe is my own self interest. What did I do to deserve this punishment? I acted on my principles and stood up for fairness, privacy and dignity for me and my fellow students. My school’s reaction to me taking a moral position was to make me an “extracurricular exile.”

You see, over the summer my high school passed a mandatory random student drug testing policy. The Bush Administration had been pushing this policy to schools across the country. It forces students who participate in extracurricular activities to submit to humiliating drug tests — randomly and without cause.

Instead of improving the drug education and counseling capacity in our schools, the former administration chose scare tactics and unproven zero-tolerance methods. Hopefully the new Obama administration, which has already shown its support for evidence based practices on a number of issues, will rethink support of random student drug testing, so other students don’t have to go through what I did. It should be common sense that scaring students won’t help them any to make smarter decisions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides all the evidence one needs. In a policy statement, the AAP cautions that student drug testing is unsupported by the scientific research and carries inherent dangers. Drug testing programs break down trust between students and administrators. They also carry the inherent danger of motivating some students to switch to different drugs that will leave the system quickly, like alcohol, or not show up in the tests, such as inhalants and herbal concoctions.

Last year, when I first found out my school board was considering a random student drug testing policy, I immediately began organizing a student opposition group. We worked to get the community involved. Students joined with parents and teachers, donning “Drug Testing Fails our Youth” T-shirts as we filed into the school board meetings. We even brought a toxicologist to speak with the board about the unreliable nature of the drug testing technology, the problem of non-professionals interpreting the test results, privacy and legal liability issues, and the general lack of research supporting student drug testing. To us it seemed the school’s arguments in favor of testing were based more on emotional rhetoric than data. But, in the end, emotion carried the day and random student drug testing went forward.

My parents and I understand that my school is trying to help students stay safe. But we also believe this invasive policy is the wrong approach. Perhaps worst of all, the policy overrules the judgment of my parents, who do not want to submit their child to this invasive program.

I feel it is my civic duty to hold on tight to the freedom that defines our great country. In fulfilling this duty, I am giving up my extracurricular activities in order to maintain my principles. I hope under the new Obama administration we can stop the spread of these programs, and redirect our scarce education dollars toward counseling and honest drug education and prevention. Other students shouldn’t be forced to choose between their principles and their favorite school club.

– Article from AlterNet.

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  362. Anonymous on

    same thing happened, except instead of me going against it i got tested and its taken a lot of stress out of me to go threw everything they put you thru when you do get caught, if you know anything about passing a drug test deffinitely e-mail me.
    marijuananaaa for life

  363. Anonymous on

    Im currently making a documentary about cannabis in my ‘high’school, and it takes guts to speak out about a subject like that. Good for you, fight back against the amerikan pigs!!!

    Peace and pot.

  364. Melissa on

    From what I am hearing, it sounds more like guilty, until proven innocent. But I 100% agree with everyone on here. This is a violation of your fourth amendment, as stated by the United States Constitution

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    What would our founding fathers think?

  365. Anonymous on

    The school that my daughter will be going to next year is also starting a random testing policy for all those involved in extra curricular activities and those whom drive to school. I believe that if they want to test our kids that the faculty should have to submit to random testing as well. I wonder how they would like pissing on demand. I furthermore think that if companies that endorse random testing for their employees should also submitt theirselves and their salaried employees to testing, after all why should they be omitted.

  366. Kirkus on

    Randomly drug testing students is insane. This is a direct infringement on your rights as a citizen. I’m Canadian and have been out of High School for about six years now, but it seems to me that the US education system is completely backwards they treat their students like prisoners who are innocent until proven guilty. There is no way this would happen in Canada, a parent or guardian should have the final say on whats best for their child not the government. You should get as many students together as you can and all of you should just outright refuse to participate in this non-sense.

  367. Anonymous on

    So does that mean that students will be allowed to issue random drug tests to their favorite teachers? How many will be fired? Won’t be many teachers left either.

  368. John M. Lasota on

    At our next random urine test I’m going to refuse it. This will probably get me fired after 30+ years for the Company. What a way to start a new life. I’m 58 and am sick and tired of people in disguise as (helpers to the public)gov. telling us free patriots what and when to do their idiocy! NO MORE PISS TEST FOR ME THANKYOU

  369. William H. Myers on

    Good for you for standing up to the bullies. It is surprising that very few adults are taking a stand about pissing on command like a dog. Of course we all know that pissing on command was brought about by the insurance companies and lobbyists for the drug test kit makers, using gutter science to back false claims that it makes the workplace a safer place and of course it is also used by the “Justice” system as another way to get money from you while you are on parole/probation/supervised release. There should be a national outcry against these tests. They are degrading and demeaning and proven to give false positives frequently. I for one will never work for someone/someplace that values the quality of my urine more than the quality of my work. Stand united against the Piss Nazis We don’t need people who think its ok to make people piss on command in any kind of power. This is how an evil empire keeps its work force in check! NO MORE PISSING ON COMMAND LIKE DOGS!!!