Drug Policy

One in Seven School Districts Tests Students for Drugs

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According to a survey reported in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health, 14 percent of public school districts randomly tested students for drugs during the 2004-05 year. These were districts where at least one high school had a testing program. Almost all of those districts were testing student athletes, 65 percent were testing students enrolled in extracurricular activities, and 28 percent were testing all students. The first two policies have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not yet addressed universal testing of public school students. Since this is the first survey of its kind, it's not clear how those decisions have affected the prevalence of drug testing. Future surveys may indicate whether the Bush administration's campaign for student drug testing, which includes federal subsidies, has had a significant impact.

The researchers note that "many of these districts may be conducting such testing beyond current Supreme Court sanctions" and therefore "may be placing themselves in a legally vulnerable position." Then again, they say, "districts that subject all students to random drug testing would appear to eliminate the risk that those who use illicit substances may simply decline to participate in extracurricular activities to avoid testing."

Previous reason coverage of student drug testing here

[via NORML]