The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

should junior high and high school students have to take random drug testes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,133 times Debate No: 40309
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




I think there should be random drug tests on students in junior high and high school so students don't get in trouble using illegal drugs and alcohol


Before beginning, I would like to greet my opponent and thank him for this opportunity to debate. I look forward to an engaging round!

My opponent begins with a single assertion - that there should be "random drug tests on students in junior high and high school" to prevent them from getting in trouble.

Merriam-Webster defines junior high as "a school usually including the seventh, eighth, and sometimes ninth grades" [1]. High school encapsulates the rest, up to 12th grade. So the parameters of this debate are established to testing students in grades 7-12.

Contention One: Holding random drug tests in schools is costly.

Using drug tests in schools rapidly becomes an expensive process. Generally, they are paid for with taxpayer dollars, adding higher burdens to the general public. Recently, the Maize school district in Kansas gave up its policy of drug testing. In the last five years, it spent "$31,000" on drug testing students, and only "four students - .2 percent - tested positive" [2]. That's a colossal waste of money. There are better ways that cash could be spent, such as on teacher salaries or student activities. A similar case happened in Dublin, Ohio, when the school cancelled its annual payments of "35,000" after finding that 11 out of 1,473 students tested positive for drug use [3]. The school used the money saved to hire a counselor who reached all of the students. As can be seen, drug testing in schools is not only costly but ineffective. Even though instituting random drug tests can be a deterrent, they are not worth the costs. A better alternative would be educational programs informing students about the dangers of consuming illegal drugs and alcohol. This way is cost-effective and it preserves the students' privacy and integrity.

Contention Two: Drug tests violate students' privacy.

Students like to feel respected and be treated as adults. In an environment where they are treated with suspicion and subjected to random drug tests, they feel more like criminals than students. In an area where they constantly feel suspected and mistreated, this can actually increase the consumption of alcohol and usage of drugs. Students in positive environments where they feel respected and treated fairly are "less likely to start smoking cigarettes or marijuana" [4], says a study at It is important for students to trust school officials and feel safe to come forward if they need to. In an environment where they are treated as though they were guilty until proven innocent, this feeling of trust quickly evaporates. Not only that, but students may feel that drug tests infringe on their privacy. Many drug tests require urine samples, for example.

Pro is correct when he says that drug usage is a problem in schools. However, because drug tests are expensive, ineffective, and damaging to the relationship between students and faculty, I maintain that there better methods of combatting drug use in schools, such as with counseling and other educational programs that empower the students rather than subjugate them. For these reasons, I urge you to vote Con!

I look forward to seeing my opponent's arguments in round 2!

Debate Round No. 1


The drug tests are not a violation of privacy especially if it could kill or seriously affect the student immediately or in the future the schools money spent on drug tests is well spent towards a good cause even if only 2 people come back positive that is 2 peoples lives that could be saved and you cant put a price on life it self. The schools job is to teach the students in every way possible even if it means to find out if the student is using drugs they teach them to not use drugs and the affect it has. I believe that classes on the affects and consequences of using drugs may not be enuff for students who are already on drugs. I thank you for helping me decide and finish my school project


My opponent argues that drug tests are not a violation of privacy because they are beneficial to students. First of all, even if they are beneficial, they are still a violation of privacy. An act done with good intentions does not make the act itself good. Secondly, what about all the students who don't benefit from their privacy being violated? My sources have shown, and Pro has failed to counter them, that it is a tiny percentage of students who have been caught because of drug tests. The vast majority were either clean or not caught, and all they received was a violation of their right to privacy.

Next, Pro argues that a price can't be placed on life itself. This is a nice sentiment. However, I have shown the exorbitant amounts of money sucked into the drain of random drug testing with very little success. Surely there are better ways this money could be used to combating illegal drug usage. Educational programs, counselors, and the like reach all of the students at a lower cost, compared to random drug tests, which reach a fraction of the students at a high cost. Pro invokes an emotional fallacy in claiming that "you can't put a price on life itself." Not every drug taken leads to death, nor does someone necessarily die with repeated infractions. Pro has raised the stakes to life and death when this is inaccurate.

Additionally, when schools implement random drug tests, this may actually discourage parents and counselors from warning kids about the dangers of drugs, as both will see the school as having taken on the responsibility. And the school, as I have shown, is ineffective in doing so. Pro believes that classes and the like "may not be enough" (spelling corrected), but he provides no evidence to support this whereas I have clearly given many reasons why implementing random drug tests might actually be worse. I shall reiterate them here: that students feel more like criminals in an environment of suspicion and scrutiny, which may be a motivating factor to doing drugs, that it violates the students' privacy, that it punishes them rather than educates them, and that it may discourage parents and other officials from educating them.

For instance, in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that drug testing in schools had produced "no evidence that drug-testing policies led male students to avoid drug use or engage in less drug use" and only a "slight impact on influencing female students" [1]. However. this slight impact appeared only when the schools reinforced a positive and safe environment - something that, in most cases, students will not feel when they are subjected to random drug tests.

Again, I would like to thank Pro for his argument. He is welcome for his assistance with his school project. I look forward to seeing my opponent in the final round, and I urge you to vote Con!

Debate Round No. 2


As I looked at some of your sources I notice that the 31,000 dollars spent on drug tests was over a period of 5 years which is only 6,200 dollars a year which I think is very reasonable. Also as a member of my schools basketball team I would hate to have the player above me in the lineup be taking steroids and be stronger than me because of it. Also you are arguing for schools to tolerate drug use even if they know it is happening you think they should take no actions to prove that accusation and not help that student with their life threatening problem. Letting this student do this puts everyone around him or her at risk of drug use as well. If you think drug use is ok for young Americans of this generation that is your opinion but I will not tolerate drug use of my peers and I will push for random drug tests. Thank you for your time and effort and I wish you the best of luck in the final round. :)


Before I begin the final round, I would like to thank my opponent for an excellent debate! As this is the final round, I will refrain from constructing any new arguments, as my opponent would be unable to refute them.

My opponent noticed that $31,000 applied to a period of 5 years. I did state this - "In the last five years, it spent $31,000 on drug testing..." My opponent simplified this to $6,200 a year and claims this is a reasonable price. However, the school found a total of 4 students in all five years. If we extend my opponent's logic, this is less than one student a year found using random drug testing. This means that, in at least one year, $6,200 went down the drain, as not a single student was found using a random drug test. Now we don't know how many students were found each year - it could have been three in one year or they could have been spread out, etc. We do know that four were found total. This means that the cost amounted to $7,750 per student. I retain my argument that a better use of this money would go to educational programs, counseling services, and other alternatives to random drug testing.

My opponent falsely accuses me of arguing that schools should "take no actions to prove that [students are using illegal drugs]". I never said that the school shouldn't take action. If a student is found using drugs, of course he or she should be disciplined. My opponent committed a straw man fallacy and argued against a point I never made. It is still possible to catch students using drugs without a random drug test and, if this happens, of course they should be punished. What I argued was that people do not die every time they take drugs. My opponent also makes up an accusation by arguing that I think it might be okay for young Americans to do drugs. I never said anything of the sort. I simply argued for alternative methods of preventing drugs rather than random drug tests, which I have proven to be ineffective.

That my opponent is on the basketball team and would hate to see another player do better because of steroids is irrelevant to the debate. However, if this scenario were to occur, the player on steroids would likely arouse suspicion with his playing. Any drug test on him would not be random - it is important to note this - because his usage of drugs was already suspect. I am arguing against random drug testing.

My opponent dropped my arguments about random drug testing discouraging parents and counselors from warning students. From this, it can only be concluded that he concedes these points. Please extend them.

My opponent likewise dropped my argument that students in an environment with random drug testing feel more untrusted and stressed, which may actually cause drug usage. Please extend this argument as well.

I urge you to vote CON for the following reasons: That there are better alternatives in preventing students from consuming drugs (again, such as counseling and educational programs) than random drug tests; that I have proven random drug testing to be ineffective and wasteful; that my opponent dropped two of my arguments which must then be taken as concessions; that my opponent has committed logical fallacies in his arguments by arguing points I never made; and that students still have a right to privacy.

Again, I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, and I wish him the best of luck as well!
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Emily77 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Would have been nice to see someone a little more experienced on the PRO side, as this is an interesting topic.