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What are some of the pros and cons of drug testing in private schools?

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Adah Rubens eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It goes without saying that all schools and educational facilities must provide a safe and healthy environment for their students. In order to do so, many private and public schools have created programs designed to help the students in various ways, offering them help, support, and counseling and giving them a place where they can expand their knowledge and their abilities. Some of these schools have begun to establish random drug testing with the hopes that it will motivate the students to stay away for drugs. There are several pros and cons of drug testing in private, as well as in public schools.

One of the main advantages of drug testing in private schools is the fact that it gives the students a reason to refuse drugs and makes it hard for them to bring drugs and other illegal substances in their schools, especially if the consequences are harsher. Teenagers often start experimenting with drugs because they were peer pressured into it, so having a drug testing program might give them an excuse to say no, which is a way of preventing drug abuse in schools. Another advantage of drug testing is that it can lead to an early detection of drug users and potential drug users among the students, which means that these students will be given help and other rehabilitation options sooner, hopefully preventing them from developing an addiction.

Most public schools don't institute drug testing as it is rather expensive; however, this might not be an issue for some private schools. Thus, one of the main disadvantages of drug testing in private schools is the fact that it might result with the punishing of innocent students, as it is fairly easy to cheat on a drug test, especially if it was not done randomly; for instance, a student can bring someone else's urine and have negative results. The test is also somewhat unreliable, as drug abuse cannot be detected unless the student is under the influence at the moment the test is administered. Additionally, some students who are under certain medications might test positive for amphetamines, even though that is not the case.

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