School students, grades 6 through 12, should be required to face a mandatory drug test. It has been shown over the years that school violence has increased and that there is a correlation between drugs and violence. Also, by requiring this of these students we would be protecting them and promoting drug prevention. In 2002, students, ages 12 to 18, were victims of about 1.9 million total crimes of violence or theft at school. In that same year 128,000 serious violent crimes at schools were reported. Another study showed that 29 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property in the last 12 months. By requiring these drug tests we are saying that it is not okay for this violence and drug use to happen, we are being proactive about the situation. We are protecting our kids from not only themselves and the dangerous situations they get themselves into but from peer pressure and violence associated with drugs. We are also protecting their education and their right to go to school and learn in a safe and secure environment. This program would also be good for drug prevention. In the years between 1994 and 2000 student drug abuse increased from 30 to 39 percent. By taking this more hands-on approach we would be making it harder for them to get, use, and distribute these drugs to students. If the punishments for breaking the rules are harsh enough I believe you will see a steady decrease in the amount of drug use among students.
I do not agree with this. I do not feel that all school students, no matter what grade, should be subjected to mandatory drug tests. By allowing this we are punishing all for the crimes of some and taking away students' rights. Also who's to say whether it's all schools or just public schools, and if this new rule would not increase the drop out rates. By allowing for this rule to be enforced we are saying its is okay to punish everyone for the crimes of some. We are punishing those good students who have done nothing but work hard to be where they are. It criminalizes everyone, leaving no room for differentiation. Mandatory drug testing is taking away these students' rights. We are punishing without cause, punishing everyone because you think some students could possibly be using drugs. Where is the fairness in that? And to make matters worse who is to say that both private and public school students are subject to these drug tests. Would the private schools have the choice to opt out and do nothing? This leaves public school children at a disadvantage and discriminated against. Also, who's to say these drug tests would not increase the drop out rate especially with schools with increased gang affiliation. Students could still choose to do drugs and accept the punishments (certain students may think it makes them look cooler) or they could get more pressure from the outside (gangs, etc.) to quit school because better business could be done elsewhere. How do we know this is what is best for everyone or is it just the "easiest" solution to a growing problem?
First of all, you can't know if something is going to work without first trying it. It may seem like the easiest solution to you but it would take a lot of effort on the schools' part and the states' part to enforce and fund this program. When it comes to the debate about private and public school I think it should include both. This is about protection of all our children, not about discrimination and alienation. You may see this as punishment but it is more protection than anything. Kids need to feel they have a safe environment they can come to, to learn, escape the hardships of their lives, and to grow as individuals. This cannot be done properly if around every hallway corner someone is offering them drugs. I find 29 percent to be extremely high when it comes to students being offered, sold, or given drugs. That is over a fourth of the student population whose chances of graduating are greatly decreased. It is unjust not to try and protect them, from themselves and from others. I also do not think that this program could increase drop out rates. By giving the students a safe and secure place they feel they can come to and learn in, we would be securing them a good future. We would be taking away the gangs' drug relationships in schools, taking away their clientele, money sources, and reinforcing the idea that drugs are not a future to students and future generations.
How do you know by "getting rid" of this problem, a new one will not spring up in its place? You talk about the children's future and how we have to protect it, that it is our duty. There are numerous things besides drugs (violence, family issues, teen pregnancy, etc.) that could run their futures off course. Who's to say that drugs are the things to focus on? Why out of all of this do we choose drugs? Is there not a better way to address these problems facing or children without turning them all into criminals. We are not giving them a chance (or support) to become something if at the first moment of doubt we accuse them of the worst. No parent wants to acknowledge that their children are using drugs but it is a reality these days. Why is it the schools problem to solve this? The parents should become more proactive; take more responsibility for not watching after their kids and protecting their futures. If anyone should want a kid to prosper, it should be his/her own parent. We should leave the punishing and drug testing up to the parents and leave the education up to the schools. The money that would go towards this testing could be used in better ways. Schools always need new technologies and books, and if you want to keep kids off the street, invest in some after school programs that are educational and fun.
I agree that there are many problems that young people face today, more than there were in the past, but we cannot just leave it up to the parents. Maybe you and I had parents that were always there, ones that looked out for us and kept us from harm, kept us on the right path, but not every young person has that. Many of the students doing drugs are supervised for little and those affiliated with gangs are looking for family, someone they can look up to and who they think will "protect" them. I know that school budgets are decreasing and teachers are finding it more difficult to get the materials they need but with the increasing drug use, violence and drop out rates associated with drugs I feel we can make room in the budgets. Parents may be upset and feel this puts strain on them and criminalizes their kids but they would be wrong and abruptly reacting to something new and uncertain. In the end we would be protecting that money (that investment) that they put into their children's education. And I know that explanations would be needed of why ALL students are required to take the drug test but I feel it keeps the school out of any discrimination claims and actually keeps from criminalizing a set minority of students.