ViewPoint: School drug testing

February 28, 2008

When we hear the term 'drug test' these days, it doesn't raise many eyebrows.  As adults, we're accustomed to pre-employment drug tests, which are now to be expected before new employees are hired. Many companies require periodic drug tests as a condition of employment.

The concept of drug testing in our schools is different. The Tift County School System is moving forward with plans to implement a random drug testing requirement fir students who participate in extra-curricular activities.

Under the Tift Co. plan, one student in five involved in voluntary activities, be randomly tested for five illicit drugs: amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine and its derivatives, opiates, and phencyclidine.

Students who fail a drug test won't be suspended from school and won't face criminal charges, but if they fail a drug test, he or she sits out the extracurricular activity for a couple of weeks. More than once, and longer suspensions would follow, including dismissal from the sport or activity.

We applaud Tift County's plan as a step in the right direction. Their plan doesn't send a child into the legal system for dabbling with drugs, but throws up a big stop sign for the students, and their parents, and shows youngsters that they'll pay a price for engaging in illegal activity. This is a lesson better learned early than late.

Tift County's plan also has the added benefit of giving the student an 'out' when peer pressure to do the wrong thing,  mounts. The student can lay the blame or not going along on the school's drug testing program.

As long as it's done in the spirit of helping the student, we say school drug testing is an idea that should do a lot of good.