Random Drug Testing in Schools

Other school systems in Alabama do it, so why don't public schools in Dothan drug test their students randomly? That’s what one woman tried to find out at Monday’s board of education meeting.

“Random drug testing is all about accountability. If you know you're going to be tested for drugs, you're definitely going to think twice about taking drugs.” And that’s why Peggy Deal went before Dothan’s Board of Education to request random drug testing at local schools. But there are concerns.

Gayla White says that “It’s a parental responsibility. It is my responsibility if I have questions about my children, which I follow them through. Random drug testing is going to happen at the work place anyway. But, I don't feel as a school system that we should be responsible nor should we bear what the cost is going to be to have it done.”

Deal says that she is not really saying it’s the school's responsibility. But that a lot of the children have problems at home.

So to find out if it is worth it, school board members might turn to the community.

David Morales says “I agree we need to get together, get with the community, get with staff, maybe do a survey, a good one, and see if the majority, not just her school but the majority of the community thinks about it. If we should do it or not do it. If the majority of citizens say no, that’s fine with me.”

Superintendent Dr. Leon Hobbs says it’s legal to test public school students.

So what’s the next step?

Hobbs says he believes there's data that shows reasons for it, and reasons against. One has to really get in there and research the data and take a pulse of the community. And if this is what the board so wishes him to do, he will do so.

Whether or not the superintendent will be asked to do so could be decided at the next board meeting.

Jan. 25 2005