Outrage Erupts: Why Are US 6th Graders Being Drug Tested?

Drug tests on high school, college and professional athletes have become normalized and ingrained in American culture. But revelations that middle school students are being asked to undergo drug tests to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities are turning some heads and sparking lawsuits.

That middle school students have been asked to pee in cups to participate in sports was the subject of an eye-opening New York Times article published September 22. The states of “Florida, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas” conduct drug testing on middle school students, the New York Times reported.

Proponents of drug testing middle school students argue that it serves as a deterrent to drug abuse by young people. But “there are no known instances of a middle school student testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs,” the Times notes, and critics call the tests multi-billion dollar industry with dubious results that violate the civil liberties of young people.

Typically, here’s how the test goes: “Students are generally given little, if any, advance notice and are pulled away from class and asked to urinate in a cup — unsupervised, to comply with privacy laws,” the Times reports.

The federal government is also in on the business. According to the Times report, “in 2003, the Department of Education started a program that offered federal money for drug testing in grades 6 through 12.”

– Read the entire store at AlterNet.

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