Drug Testing

New Jersey Parents: Drug Test Teachers; Also Have More Searches, Cameras

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sign applies to students
Ivy Dawned/flickr/FILE

Some parents in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, are agitating for random drug testing of teachers after one middle school teacher was arrested for possession of heroin, prescription meds, needles, and other paraphernalia. He and another teacher were suspended with pay by the school district, and a third teacher reportedly requested a leave related to the investigation. Last week a child found a syringe in the boys bathroom. Although school bus drivers in New Jersey must undergo drug testing, thanks in part to union representation, there are no drug test mandates for public school teachers. The Bergen Record reports on parents' reactions:

"I could care less for the unions" if they oppose this, said one school parent who would not give her name. "The security of my child is important."

…Several parents — none of whom would give their name — said after the [Thursday school board] meeting they would like the school to install surveillance cameras, while another mom said she wanted employees to be drug tested monthly.

"I trusted the teacher so much," she said, though she would not specify which educator taught her child. "I'm so disappointed."

Parents also had spoken out the previous evening, telling officials at the school board meeting that they did not want the teachers returning to work. Others called for more drug searches on campuses.

All the teachers implicated are tenured, a job protection originally fashioned to protect teachers from reprisals for the content of their teaching. Even if heroin were legalized, leaving syringes in the student bathroom isn't something teachers ought to be doing.

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  1. “This prison for our children isn’t prison-y enough!”

    1. “But, we can’t trade students for cigarettes, the exchange rate means there aren’t enough students”

    2. Yeah but Epi, school is supposed to be a prison for children, not the teachers. Teachers have rights, you know.

  2. The parents wouldn’t give their names…Afraid of the teachers retaliating against their children.

    1. This is NJ, and they are criticizing a union. They should be worried about the union attacking them. And I don’t mean just verbally, either.

  3. How can any parent feel comfortable sending their kid when they have so little trust in those in charge?

    People are so frigging blind. There are alternatives to public education, possibly they should seek them out.

    On another note: The charter school I volunteer at outscored the district schools significantly on terra nova testing. They passed with +85% of the kids proficient in reading and math while the district average was 40%.

    1. That’s because you stole all the smart kids from teh publik skoolz.

    2. I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to guess you generally don’t find syringes in charter school bathrooms.

      1. Depends on the charter school. There are some awful charters, but they get shut down after a couple years of under performance. While the crappy district schools just continue on and on…….

        The good charters typically get better and better and more popular (larger lottery pool) as time goes on. The benefits of charters: you’re good you succeed; you suck you get closed.

      2. I doubt that you generally find syringes in many school bathrooms of any kind.

        1. OK, one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

  4. Parents also had spoken out the previous evening, telling officials at the school board meeting that they did not want the teachers returning to work.

    *pumps fist* RIGHT ON!

    Then I sadly realized they weren’t referring to ALL the teachers.

  5. “I could care less for the unions” if they oppose this, said one school parent who would not give her name. “The security of my child is important.”

    My understanding of expressions and what they mean, however…

    1. Irregardless, don’t you agree that the security of that child could be more important?

      1. I hate to be an asshole and…well ok, I really don’t, but I would like to point out here that irregardless is not a word.

        1. I’m pretty sure Bee Tagger’s use of “irregardless” was sarcasm.

          IOW, he was towing the lion.

      2. It’s now in the dictionary.

        ir?re?gard?less

        adjective adverb
        adjective irregardless adverb irregardless

        1. regardless.

        1. I know that. It is still not a word. It also makes a pain shoot through my temples.

        2. I know that. It is still not a word. It also makes a pain shoot through my temples.

        3. Irregardless, it is still not a word. Also, it makes a pain shoot through my temples.

          1. Fuckin’ squirrels.

      3. SB, I think BT was deliberately using “irregardless” as a funny rejoinder to the equally misused phrase “I could care less.” He cares enough to not use such words carelessly.

      4. Bad teachers are a diamond dozen, we should fire more of them…

    2. Awww…that’s so cutely naive. She thinks she can just wave her hand and make a union of public employees go away. Good luck with that.

      Perhaps this will be a wakeup call for her and other similarly situated parents, but I doubt it.

  6. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?

  7. The syringe could have been from a diabetic (student, teacher, administrator, janitor)

    1. I would imagine that given the anti-drug hysteria that diabetic students would have to do their injections in the presence of the school nurse, if not have the drugs held and administered by the nurse.

      As far as diabetic staffers I would imagine that they’d have to either do the same or use a specially-designated, staff-only bathroom with a medical waste disposal bin.

      1. Male staffers used the boys bathrooms in my grammar school. I’m sure there was a staff bathroom too, but it was probably a convenience rather than compulsory.

        1. It was probably a perversion rather than a convenience.

    2. And I doubt a teacher would be shooting up in the boy’s bathroom.

      This all sounds like overblown parental hysterics to me – yeah, shocking I know.

  8. I generally oppose employment drug testing, even for public employees. Obviously private employers can do what they want, but employees can also tell them to get stuffed.
    In this case, the teachers seem to have been caught and are being appropriately dealt with.
    If a teacher can manage an opiate addiction while still being an effective teacher and not leaving paraphernalia around the school, I don’t see the problem. Judge people on their behavior and performance.

  9. Since the government won’t (in 99% of the U.S.) let parents take their tax money and buy schooling outside the state-run system, the parents are entitled to shove stuff like this up the teachers’ behinds.

    1. Let’s not forget, students aren’t the only ones who can flee an oppressive and dysfunctional public school system.

      If the teachers don’t like surveillance and drug testing, they can get another job somewhere else.

      1. If the teachers don’t like surveillance and drug testing, they can get another job somewhere else.

        “Alice, I’m sure someone like you would have no trouble finding a top flight job in the service industry.”

  10. Even if heroin were legalized, leaving syringes in the student bathroom isn’t something teachers ought to be doing.

    As importantly, even if heroin were legalized, your boss would still be entitled to tell you that one of the conditions of your employment is random drug testing and fire you if you violate the company policy. The market has a funny way of working shit like that out.

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