- Cullman, Alabama


April 1, 2014

EDITORIAL: Drug policy sensible, needed

CULLMAN — Cullman City School officials’ decision to slow plans for implementing a student drug testing program was reached after a series of public input meetings.

During the meetings, a few parents raised concerns that school officials were “going after” students through the drug testing plan, Another parent said he was concerned about false positives in drug testing that would cause students to be suspended or create damage to their reputation.

Even with assurances that the drug testing policy is aimed at preventing problems, some parents seem to oppose or question the plan based on concerns lack a solid foundation.

The policy is aimed at random testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities or drive a vehicle to school. From the school system’s standpoint and the general protection of taxpayers’ interest, the policy is simply a necessity. And it’s certainly fair.

If taxpayers are funding a variety of activities that enhance the educational experience of students, it is only fair in this drug-infused age of the American society that those participating in such events submit to random drug testing. From a standpoint of legal matters, the school system is protecting taxpayers and the institution from potential lawsuits and damage awards. On a moral plane, school officials are potentially heading off behavior that could lead to a lifetime of misery and destruction because of drug use and eventual addiction. The program contains fair punishment and the ability to direct offenders into rehabilitative programs. All parents should be pleased with the approach, even if they maintain that their sons and daughters are beyond reproach.

The truth is that temptations exist for students on a daily basis. Maybe a few decide to indulge in drug use, but just one or two students using narcotics or marijuana during a band march or football game could cause problems for others as well as personal consequences.

And finally it is important that no one is perfect. And no policy is perfect, as well. But there is an obligation among school officials to take precautionary steps for the protection of students and the institutions we fund with tax dollars.

The policy is far from being classified as highly punitive. The ability to randomly test students serves as a warning and, at the same time, has the potential of saving a drug user from future harm.

The time has arrived to approve and implement the policy over the small, unfounded chorus of objections. The condition of society and the ever-pending threat of lawsuits are clear reasons to let the policy move forward. In this age, a simple drug test at school or in the workplace is not treading on the rights of anyone. If anything, such policies are protecting the rights of a large majority of American citizens.

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