The Instigator
The_Silent_Consensus
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
Gregster221
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points

Random Student Drug Testing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,861 times Debate No: 708
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (10)

 

The_Silent_Consensus

Con

I'm going to start off by saying that I believe those who support it have good intentions. They want to fight drug use among teens and we should. The question isn't about whether we should or not, the question is, how should we? An old English proverb says that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you have trouble understanding what that means, it means that well-intended acts can have disastrous results. Randomly drug-testing students is one of those acts.

One key basis of supporting random drug testing is that if students were warned that they could be randomly caught any day in school, they'd be less likely to try drugs in the first place. That argument seems like common sense and is definitely logical. The biggest flaw in that argument is that teens are infamous for assuming nothing bad will happen to them. "Sure, some people will get caught, but I won't." The other flaw is that a student who does drugs ALREADY HAS a bigger chance of getting caught than randomly at school. They could get caught in the act, someone could smell smoke off them, see their extremely red eyes, or see them acting violently, and so on

The next argument is: if people are innocent, why should they care? They have nothing to hide. For the sake of this, let's assume that the tests are 100% accurate. A better question is, should people be able to enjoy their fundamental right of privacy unless they have done something that makes them genuinely deserving otherwise?

We have two ways to deal with problems: The first way holds individuals accountable for their own actions. The irresponsible, reckless groups of individuals who endanger others are held accountable and punished or rehabilitated accordingly. The authorities handle the reckless people and leave the innocent people alone. The second way treats all people as if they are that irresponsible, reckless group, and random drug testing does that.

Granted, punishment and rehab only happen if the student fails the drug test. So those who are innocent still won't receive that. However, calling students out of class to urinate in a bottle in front of an administrator when they've done nothing to arise suspicion is highly intrusive. The other problem is they are missing valuable class time and can feel very humiliated. This all happens when they have DONE NOTHING TO ARISE SUSPICION

As I said earlier, we need to fight drug use among teens, make no mistake. Reasonable suspicion testing is a far better way to do it.

The first argument against reasonable suspicion is that it singles people out, whereas random treats everyone equally. Why should everyone be treated equally in this case? Why should a good and sober student be treated the same as someone clearly on drugs? That would be like pulling random people over to do a Breathalyzer test instead of pulling people over for swerving or showing any other signs of drunk driving.

Many teachers know who's doing drugs. It's easy to tell. Their eyes are bloodshot, they can't get up when the bell rings, they fall asleep in class a lot, they have to use the bathroom 20 times, you get the picture. Random drug testing prevents the school from getting to them quickly enough because they are testing randomly and not out of reasonable suspicion.

You may then say, "Okay, they should do random, but if they have reason to believe that someone is doing drugs, they should be able to deal with them." First off, if you favor random drug testing because it treats everyone equally and singles no one out, you're trying to have it both ways. If equality is not your argument and you believe that we should do both, then why is random necessary?

Granted, not everyone who does drugs is showing signs of it at school. However, if someone is not doing drugs at school, or is not high at school, since when is it the school's job to catch it? Students who misbehave off campus are under the jurisdiction of their parents and the police, not the school. As long as they are behaving at school, it's not the school's job to get them in trouble.

Back to random drug testing. The last argument says "I am in favor of whatever works to reduce drug use among teens." Well, randomly drug testing is totally counterproductive.

As I mentioned before, random drug testing is like randomly pulling people over for a Breathalyzer test instead of doing it based on signs of drunk driving. When you're looking for needles in a haystack, the worst thing to do is pile on more hay. Knowing that the odds are less likely they will be called to do a test than if it were based on reasonable suspicion, the likelihood of students doing drugs is greater

The second reason it's counterproductive is that marijuana hangs around for weeks, while many harder drugs go right through the person. Drugs like coke and meth probably won't show up on the test because they leave the body quickly. Marijuana that's a month old will show up. You might say to that, "Well let's catch who we can, let's not let the perfect become enemy of the good." It's a good argument, the problem is that with marijuana showing up a month later but coke and meth not showing up even 2 days after, an incentive is created for people to go from marijuana to harder drugs.

Or to be fair, the University of Michigan did a study about the impact of random drug testing. They found no difference in the number of students who use drugs in any category in schools with random drug testing and those without. The one exception is this: they found in schools that randomly test students, 12th graders are MORE likely to smoke marijuana while all other drug use is constant. So while my logic of why it's counterproductive may be wrong, neither result is what we want

So far I've addressed randomly drug testing every student in school. However, random drug testing is mostly just a condition for students to participate in extracurricular activities

Therein lies a big difference. Extracurricular activities are voluntary and school is not. The problem is that instead of getting off drugs, students will instead just opt-out of doing the extracurricular activities. What makes it worse is that extracurricular activities, except sports, are a great deterrent to drug use. If students have drug problems, extracurricular activities should be encouraged, not prohibited

When it comes to sports, random drug testing makes more sense in comparison to randomly testing every student at school or other extracurricular activities. The problem with doing it for sports is what I mentioned earlier about how random drug testing precludes the school from getting to the ones who are likely on drugs quickly enough.

All of this comes from someone who has never had a drink of alcohol, smoked a cigarette, or tried any illegal drug. But that's not the point. The point is that no one should have to give up his or her privacy based on what others might do or have done
Gregster221

Pro

Random drug testing in schools should be allowed. These children are going to be our lawyers and doctors. Do you want them to be potheads? No. Random drug testing will be very effective. If you go to a school, you have to obey the laws and the school rules and no law or school lets you use drugs. Keeping the laws under control by random tests will be effective. It puts fear in to the children. Hopefully, enough fear where they won't go to drugs at all.

Drugs are a massive problem in society today. Millions of dollars are lost every year due to drug crimes. If children are taught early and punished they're less likely to do it later. Not only does it keep drugs out of our schools, it shows the children later in life that they will face drug tests anyways.

I don't want druggies in my schools. Random tests busts them in the act then they get kicked out of school. Good. They're wasting my tax dollars anyways. Go sit at home and waste your life on pot.

If you come to school under the influence of drugs, it's then a school problem. Random tests will be effective. I'm sure the minimal interference of rights of privacy won't outweigh the less trouble schools have to go through using drugs. In fact it's not invading their rights of privacy at all. Once your on school jurisdiction, they are free to test you.
Debate Round No. 1
The_Silent_Consensus

Con

We need to fight drug use among teens, make no mistake

Random drug testing is a wrong way to go about it, morally and practically. In practical terms, it fails. Teens are infamous for assuming nothing bad will happen to them ("Sure, some people get caught, but I won't"). Plus, they ALREADY HAVE a bigger chance of getting caught than randomly at school: They could get caught in the act, someone could smell smoke off them, see their extremely red eyes, or see them acting violently, and so on

Millions of dollars are wasted in random testing, which is ineffective, and those dollars could go toward more effective methods. Reasonable suspicion testing is a far better way to go about it.

We can handle this problem in one of two ways. The first way holds the students using drugs accountable for their own actions. The irresponsible, reckless groups of students who endanger others are held accountable and punished or rehabilitated accordingly. The administrators handle the reckless students and leave the innocent students alone. The second way treats all students as if they are that irresponsible, reckless group, and random drug testing does that.

Trusting relationships are a great deterrent to drug use, and actually strike at the root cause. Random testing tells students not to trust administrators, and it tells the students that they themselves can't be trusted, and are guilty unless they prove their innocence.

If you come to school under the influence of drugs, then absolutely the school should test you. In a random system, the school would be precluded from getting to you quickly enough, because they can't single anyone out. The school is looking for needles in a haystack, and all random testing does is pile on more hay. Under reasonable suspicion, they could test you on the spot because you are demonstrating the symptoms.

Under the logic of random testing, we should pull over random cars for a Breathalyzer test and not take into account whether they are showing symptoms of DUI. Under reasonable suspicion, we pull over those who are showing symptoms of DUI, and leave the innocent drivers alone. The innocent drivers aren't inconvenienced, the drunk drivers get tested and punished, everyone gets protected

Isn't the Constitution great?
Gregster221

Pro

Yes it does assume all students are guilty. When you were in high school, how many students did drugs? Quite a few. Probably more did it than not. I'm sure a few students wouldn't mind being tested when they were innocent, if the knew that the guilty were going to be caught. The random tests strike fear into the students. Yes it's true teens say "Oh, I won't get caught." Once one student gets caught and expelled, they won't be saying that much longer. The random tests are a perfect use of money. They are efficient and it is the quickest way to catch large groups of culprits at once. Sounds to me that that is the perfect way to go about it; strike fear into them and easily mass test all the students.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Silent_Consensus

Con

So under your logic, if 70% are guilty and 30% are innocent, then it's okay to treat everyone like they are that 70%. I'm sorry, but I live in a country that that's better than that. We should hold that 70% accountable for their actions and leave the 30% alone.

Innocent students DO mind being tested. Pulling someone out of class to urinate in a bottle in front of an administrator is highly intrusive. I would have minded. It's not appropriate to take away my privacy over what someone else might do or has done

University of Michigan did a study about the impact of random drug testing. They found no difference in the number of students who use drugs in any category in schools with random drug testing and those without. The one exception is this: they found in schools that randomly test students, 12th graders are MORE likely to smoke marijuana while all other drug use is constant.

In THEORY, like you're trying to argue, it would result in people going from marijuana to harder drugs because marijuana hangs around for weeks while harder drugs exit the body quickly. But in PRACTICE, marijuana use went up. Neither result is what we want

Go do some research on schools that have random testing, don't just hypothesize. It's been tried and it hasn't worked. Many schools that once resorted to it have opted to change direction.

They are not the quickest way to catch large groups of culprits. As I said, it actually PREVENTS schools from testing suspicious students quickly enough. Reasonable suspicion testing is a far better way to go

I'll end with the quotation, "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." Just like communism, random testing only works in theory. In practice, it's disastrous
Gregster221

Pro

Gregster221 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by person_16 9 years ago
person_16
That's frightening...

Our football team has only won two games this year, same as last year, and we have never won a homecoming game in, like, a decade. Yet our school spends most of its budget on our crappy football team like they deserve it. For example, they sold our soda machines to make money to give to the football team. I know this because soon after, the football team got new uniforms. The volleyball team doesn't even have enough uniforms for an entire team and sometimes show up to a game wearing their own shorts and t-shirts. That's just sad.

Our football team is composed majorly of drug-using teenagers yet somehow they are the pride of our school. O_o
Posted by my.matryoshka 9 years ago
my.matryoshka
Yes... people high on marijuana act violently. It is a scientific fact. I once saw a guy attack and brutally eat an entire wedding cake.
Posted by person_16 9 years ago
person_16
My school's football team may need drug testing...maybe then we could finally win a game or two if they weed out those who are high and running around the field...
Posted by SperoAmicus 9 years ago
SperoAmicus
Good luck finding someone to argue schools need drug testing.

There's a reasonable argument for it, but there aren't really many people who actually want to do it. Those people who do, I believe, tend to be from the areas hardest hit by drugs and crime. There's a tendancy to think that an intrusion upon a person is undesirable but paling in comparison to the greater harm.

I really get where those people are coming from and can support the legitimacy of the need in some areas. But the effectiveness of random drug testing is still questionable, and much of the problem is actually in the reporting and enforcement of drug laws by individuals who (rightly or wrongly) believe the laws are too harsh and punish victims.

I personally believe that the effort should be on restructuring the "War on Drugs" in a number of ways to re-establish the legitimacy of law enforcement in this matter. To that end, random drug testing is counter-intuitive.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by The_Silent_Consensus 8 years ago
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The_Silent_ConsensusGregster221Tied
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Vote Placed by kenicks 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by azrael777 9 years ago
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