Our View: Drug testing policy fair

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:25 AM

Editorial Board

The Davis School Board should OK its proposal to have random drug testing for high school athletes, cheerleaders, drill team members and student body officers. The random drug testing would total 40 a week, or five from each high school in the district.

Box Elder, Ogden and Weber school districts already do random drug testing. The tests are not designed to place a criminal label on an offender but to serve as an intervention to help put a stop to teens who have decided to use drugs, The substances that will be detected in the tests include Meth, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, ecstasy and pharmaceutical-strength steroids.

These are substances that have the potential to harm these young lives irreparably. It’s a responsibility of schools to make a serious effort to combat the influx of drugs in the schools. Fear of getting caught via a random test will reduce drug use in the high schools.

According to research from the district, positive drug tests at a nearby school that has random testing have decreased considerably, from 62 positive tests four years ago to only 12. The district, which advanced the random drug test proposal last week, will have a final vote for its implementation on April 16. The cost, assumed to be $25,000 per school year, is reasonable.

The penalties that students will face are fair. The first offense results in a suspension of two games, matches, performances or meetings but attending practice is still allowed. Future failed tests will allow an increase in discipline. A third positive test results in an 18-week suspension from activities, and re-entrance is subject to completion of an assessment, intervention and treatment program.

High schools are not a democracy, and students have not yet entered into the responsibilities and privileges of adulthood.

The Davis district, which understands that drug abuse does occur, will be smart to enact the drug testing program.

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