by Saeri Plagmann, Clarion Staff
According to the SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) 5% of high schools in the U.S. perform random drug tests on students. The federal government shows their support by offering grants to fund these tests, and an increasing number of schools are beginning to require it for students who want to participate in extracurricular activities. Although there are many who claim drug testing to be a violation of their personal rights, schools defend themselves by pointing out that it is their duty to promote a healthy environment for everyone.
Although very few people refer to the student handbook, Kennedy High School has a specific policy regarding the possession and/or use of drugs, as noted on page 20 of the handbook:
A recent Kennedy student body survey asking whether students should receive drug tests if participating in extracurricular activities revealed over 60% of students disagree. Cecilia Hosino, a junior at JFK, said, “It’s an invasion of privacy in my opinion, and it’s not required for NFL players, so why us?” Those that voted yes (below 40%) indicated the opposite, claiming drugs can give an individual an unfair advantage. Jenna Lee, a senior at JFK, says, “If you want the privilege to play something you love then you shouldn’t be afraid to take a drug test.”
Drug usage in schools is becoming more common and problematic every year. Mr. Van Natten, Kennedy’s principal, stated that the Board of Education allows drug testing to be done on students but there are no current plans to enforce it. If drug tests were to be administered, a student voice would always be considered; however, it would be highly unlikely for the school principal and other administrators to be given the decision. The SCUSD board would make the decision. There have been anti-drug initiatives in the past at Kennedy, although many felt they were ineffective. Currently, the lack of funds prevent any anti-drug events from happening on campus. “We are not currently running a campus-wide anti-drug campaign but we do have resources available for students facing substance abuse,” said Mr. Van Natten.
The SSPD also admits the counterproductive results of drug testing. Students begin to avoid participating extracurricular activities, and the overall process of the tests, which require urination samples, subject teenagers to humiliation. It is a slow process, but schools are finding ways to minimize student drug usage one step at a time. Many people protest to the process, but the truth of the matter always comes down to the well being of a student and creating a healthy environment for schools.