Random Drug Testing For Mercer County Schools in West Virginia sign now

We, parents and educators of students in Mercer County Schools are writing to express our firm opposition to the proposed student drug testing policy. We, like parents and teachers across America are concerned about drug and alcohol use in our schools. But we believe that the proposed policy will do more harm than good to the young people we care so dearly about. This letter spells out the reasons why we are opposed to unwarranted drug testing of our children.

The United States Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of drug testing students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities if it is done with the support of the parents in that community. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has also recently set out guidelines making it clear that any drug testing policy must rest on the firm support of the parents and teachers of that school district. That support is lacking here. This letter demonstrates to you the community-wide opposition to drug testing that makes any drug testing policy unconstitutional.

We are opposed to a drug testing program at our schools because we believe it undermines the trust that is fundamental to creating a healthy and safe environment for our children. The basic foundation of trust between adults and students is necessary for students to feel comfortable disclosing their daily concerns, including any possible drug use. Additionally, we believe that a drug testing program undermines the integrity of the parent-child relationship -- we as parents have the right to shape our children's upbringing - and while school is certainly a key part of that upbringing and we appreciate the input and involvement of teachers, key decision making about our children rests with us as parents.

Studies show that the majority of teen drug abuse occurs during the hours that teenagers are most often unsupervised - weekdays between 3 and 6 pm. Engaging students in productive extracurricular activities during the most at-risk times of the week for drug abuse is a smart preventive measure. Drug testing acts as a barrier to student involvement in these activities by forcing students to choose between enduring a humiliating drug test or foregoing participation in the activity in which they wish to participate. Furthermore, drug testing will discourage those students who may be using drugs from the very activities in which their involvement could help them to stop abusing drugs.

Drug testing also violates students' privacy rights because even if a test is kept confidential, a positive test may become public if a student is tested and suddenly removed from an activity or from the schools - people make the connection. Moreover, students may face stigma from adults who have access to the results. For those students who are denied access to extracurricular activities, they may face barriers to admission to universities. This is not how we want our students to learn the important lesson that using drugs is bad.

Last but not least, drug testing programs are not cost-effective. We are concerned by the costs that will be incurred by our school board if it chooses to pay for drug testing, and feel the money may be better spent on new books, field trips, teacher salaries, drug education that is rooted in safety and trust, as well as countless other positive ways to enrich the quality of public education.

What is legal is not always good policy. Our school district should be a leader in enacting drug prevention policies that actually work. We thank you for your consideration of our arguments against suspicion-less student drug testing.

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Morris FrancoBy:
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Mercer County Board Of Education

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