SmackDown: Should There Be Random Drug Testing in Middle School?
Filed under: Opinions
Paranoid Police State for My 12-year-Old? My Wrath Will Scare Her Straight, Not Random Drug Testing
by Dori Hartley
Let's jump right to the point: Drugs suck.
You know it, I know it, and, if you're any kind of good parent, you have had "the drugs-are-bad talk" with your kid, using meaningful dialogue -- none of that mamby-pamby, beating around the bush stuff.
You sat down with your middle schoolers, and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that not only are drugs "old school," but partaking in them will guarantee their lives will suck, as well.
"Drugs will make you an idiot. Got it, kid?"
"I know, Mom. But I hear that some of the other kids have done them."
"Well, then, I guess those kids have no intentions of doing anything other than being bums for the rest of their lives. First goes their skin. Then, of course, there's the damage caused to their internal organs. But that's nothing compared to what it's like to become addicted. Hoo boy, once you get that addict look, oh, you can just watch your friends flee. Lonely business, being a junkie. Come here, kid, let me show you some online photos of what happens to the nose of a cocaine abuser ..."
On occasion, driving a little fear into your child's mind can go a long distance -- and be quite positive. Paranoia can be useful. Knowledge is power, after all, and a child who knows the dangers of drug abuse is a child who will be less inclined to dabble.
But, when I read about a New Jersey town's intention to randomly drug test sixth, seventh and eighth graders in its public school, I wasn't as gung-ho to board the paranoia train as some might expect.
According to this Belvidere, N.J., school plan, 12-year-olds -- kids my own daughter's age -- would go to school knowing that at any moment someone in a position of authority could remove them from class and perform a random drug check.
I get the good intention here. Kids will be so worried about being plucked from their algebra classes to be drug tested that they'll be too intimidated to join in on the doobie-smoking in the parking lot.
But what about the kids who have absolutely no desire whatsoever to indulge in the stupidity known as recreational drugs?
If something like this were to become the national standard, middle schoolers would have even more to worry about beyond their already heavy load of concern over getting good grades, completing their homework assignments on time and figuring out who they are as young people amongst their peers.
They would have to live with the unhealthy paranoia that, at any given moment, they could be selected for a drug test.
As much as I believe drugs are the downfall of our society, I also believe living in the constant consciousness of paranoia can be too much for a kid. I'm all for the idea of campaigning against drugs. I'm thrilled with the idea of promoting a drug-free school environment. I'm just not sure the policed state of "guilty until proven innocent" is going to smoothly flow within the curriculum of learning.
I don't want my kid drug tested. She won't be doing drugs because I won't let that happen. Think that's not a possibility? Think I'm being naive? Watch me.
Because, drugs, like cigarettes, are not something I will tolerate on any level. And, should my child even try, she will see what anger really looks like.
And the wrath of Mom? That won't be random.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.