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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should schools drug test students?



A Pennsylvania family is suing their children's school district. One of the daughters was asked to undergo drug testing to participate in the school's scrapbooking club.

"They were asking a 12-year-old to pee in a cup," Kathy Kiederer said to the New York Times News Service. "I have a problem with that. They're violating her right to privacy over scrapbooking? Sports?"

Though still not totally mainstream, more and more middle and high schools are making drug tests a requirement to participate. Call it pee to play. And Florida schools are part of the picture.

As we noted back in April, the Imagine School in North Port sought mandatory drug testing for all its students. "It's not meant to screen students from enrolling in the school, or to be punitive in any fashion," principal Justin Matthews said at the time. "It's really designed to provide an early intervention approach."

Escambia students began facing random drug tests back in 2011. The Dixie School Board has a similar policy, stating that "privileged" students represent the school district and must present themselves accordingly, including avoidance of the use of illegal drugs and alcohol.

At the same time, some experts have suggested that random drug testing can lead to creative ways to mask use. It also can create a false sense of security about drug use.

Is there a right answer?

[Last modified: Monday, September 24, 2012 6:30am]


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