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I have discussed this time and time again with many of my co-workers. Whether or not drug testing for teachers should be mandatory is up in the air. It is obvious that parent's should be rest assured that they are leaving their children in safe and responsible hands.
It is also our duty as teachers to set positive examples. Many employers today require drug testing so this is not something that is unusual. Students need to know that their teachers are following the same guidelines that they are required to follow. If a student is using drugs, there are consequences. The same rule should apply to teachers.
If there is a reason to suspect that a teacher is under the influence of drugs then I believe a drug test is in order. It would be horrible if something happened to a student because of a teacher who was under the influence.
When a parent drops their kids off at school they are leaving them in the care of a teacher. Parents have a right to know that their children are in a safe environment. Teachers also have a right to privacy so I believe drug tests should only be conducted if a teacher has shown signs of drug use or behaviours of a drug user. Complaints from parents, colleagues or students would be another possible reason for testing. I believe this would be a better proposition than mandatory drug testing. I don't see the reason to test every teacher because there are a few bad apples in the bunch.
As a teacher, this issue has come up more than once. The main point in favor of teacher drug testing is that, since they work with young people and are paid by the public/government, they must be held to a higher moral standard than ordinary citizens, so much so that they should be drug tested regardless of whether or not there is any justifiable suspicion of drug use.
The idea that they are supposed to "set an example" of law abiding conduct, or to uphold the accepted morals of the community in which they live and teach is another argument. This is along the same lines as teachers being fired for getting a DUI. While the illegal actions happen outside of the school day, most people tend to believe higher standards of behavior for teachers should be expected and enforced.
I am assuming that you want arguments for this, regardless of what we believe:
- Teachers have an important job and it would be dangerous to the students if they were to be under the influence of drugs while they were teaching. It would also be bad for the students' education. Therefore, teachers should be tested so that parents can know their kids' teachers will be able to keep their kids safe and give them the best possible education.
- Teachers are expected to be role models for the students. If students can think that teachers are using drugs it will make them think that is okay.
- The idea that teachers might be on drugs lowers the respect that is given to teachers by students and by society as a whole.
Teachers, like other public service employees, deal with the public on a daily basis and interact with the most vulnerable segment, children. Teachers carry enormous influence and can ultimately exert more influence on children than parents or friends of students. But unlike police officers or firemen, who not only carry dangerous and deadly equipment, the likelihood of a teacher causing serious physical harm is unlikely. Testing procedures for teachers should be less restrictive than public safety employees.
I can see one special type of teacher who might need testing and that could be nursery school teachers and day care providers who deal with very small children and possibly infants. Dropping them, or losing control in front of them may lead to serious consequencesfor the welfare of the child.
This one is debatable. Teachers provide the support and care for a human's most precious beings, their children. In order to be totally cognitive of their duties and responsibility a teacher needs to be as alert as possible. There are no second chances when it comes to a child's life. Because of this, the idea of mandatory drug testing seems appropriate.
In our society people who drive trucks and operate machinery are tested. I have even known newspaper agencies to drug test their staff when some of the person's primary responsibility was to answer phone calls. The value of a child's life far exceeds the value of hurt feelings caused by mandatory testing. People who work in institutions or with person's with disabilities in group homes undergo mandatory testing if the employer desires, so why would we not want to test those who have the daily responsibility of America's children?
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