Hi people! I wanted to get an opinion on what y'all think is right in this situation. My brother's high school is a random drug testing program in which they pull the student out of a class during the year (at random) and test for drugs - but parent's permission is required for enrollment in the program with the school packet turned in  at the beginning of the year. Would you all enroll your children in this?

At one end - the drug test is done at random and it has its benefits. On the other hand, I would think that the child might feel the parents don't trust him/her and it might entice the child to do drugs that he/she might not or cause other psychological rifts. On one hand - the child would either know he/she is enrolled in the program or the parent can keep it a secret from the child by going to the school after the packet is turned in and enrolling them in the program this way so the child wouldn't know until he/she is pulled from the classroom and *if since it is based on "random" - but I don't know what is the right decision in this situation and wanted some of your advice...thanks in advance. :)

Tags: drug, drugs, high, school, students, testing

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I have said I am "not sure" yet. I will let you know when I come to a conclusion of my advice. And this program wasn't in my school when I was in high school, so I can't say whether my parents would or would not have enrolled me in this program or not since they never had the choice..

And I do base it both on psychological and legal principles. Psychologically I know that this can create a rift. At the same time, psychologically I do know that he has a narcissistic personality and high sense of self-worth and the pressure to keep his ego high due to his narcissism and impressing other people might make him fall into peer pressure. Therefore - I am analyzing this based on my brother's psychological profile and what I know of him more than legal justifications per-say.

Well, I think it is a violation of trust, and whilst, as you argue that kids have less rights, people should teach children what it's like to be an adult as early as possible. In real life you're not going to have someone checking that you're doing everything right.

Also I doubt random tests will even effect the amount of people who get into drugs, and really, if they're just searching for weed, it's pointless anyway, weed is good

There is also a difference between what is permissible under the law or human rights agreements and what is actually a good idea. There are many things we can do, but should not do out of a basic sense of decency, courtesy, and respect.

Another point to think about is what drugs are being tested for? I believe the standard drug tests are looking for the usual line-up of illegals, marijuana, cocaine, heroic, etc. Since marijuana stays in the body and can be detected for a long time, some kids might use other (possibly more dangerous/addicting) drugs if they are out of the body faster to avoid the possibility of detection. I'm not sure of the validity of this but I've read it from multiple sources. Worth considering.

If I had kids, yes I would. I don't feel like it should cause a trust issue or drive the kid to actually do drugs. My parents made it clear that they didn't want up doing drugs, and guess what... I never have, nor have I ever considered doing so. Trust? When my employer has had a random testing policy, I never felt like I was being signaled out, nor did I loose any 'trust'. Heck, I had to be tested on two separate occasions with the same employer. Perhaps a kid may try to shift the blame in these ways if they have a guilty conscious. But in those cases, it's the kid at fault, not the parent.

I don't think it would drive the kid to do drugs, but the fact of the matter is, you don't trust them in that regard if you feel the test is fair or needed.  

I would hope that I did everything I could to educate my hypothetical kid. But no matter how you raise them, they can do stupid things. I think of it more as a redundancy check, just in case. Kids can be prone to randomly doing things out of character. So I may trust them 99% of the time, but still realize that given the right pressures they may do something I would never expect from them.If it were a parental request to definitely test your kid I would agree that you certainty don't trust them. But with it being random, I feel that it's less a trust issue and more of a 'just in case' thing.

 

But if we were to take the trust thing further, should a parent ask to see their kid's report card? Or does not simply taking their word for it concerning their grades also mean that you don't trust them as well? 

My parents actually didn't check my report cards by the time I was old enough to drive, but honestly, the two things are hardly equal anyway. Report cards are given out already as a matter of due process directly relevant to the current educational process. The same cannot be said for random drug checks.

"Kids can be prone to randomly doing things out of character."

I don't know a single person who didn't do something profoundly stupid growing up, but that was life. Pretty much everyone learned from whatever it was that they did and then got over it. It's not like I'm saying that parents can't be involved in their children's lives and keep an eye on them, but at the same time, they have to set limits on how far they pry and allow their kids to have some privacy in their lives.

We do know that children/teens brains have not grown to full capacity in their executive functioning abilities in making the wisest decisions but are driven more on impulse or short-sighted thinking without thinking about the long-term consequences.

So why not put them in a position were they can be criminalized..

 No I would not sign my child up to be randomly drug tested. Just like there are laws protecting us against unreasonable search and seizure no one should be subject to a drug test without reasonable cause.

One doesn't develop a trusting relationship with one's child by assuming a default position of distrust.

It's a difficult call if your child is untrustworthy.  Without getting into the blame game, I think the parent should decide whether or not reasonable trust can be (re)established.  If not, then that probably means your child has a higher likelihood of drug use or abuse.

Let's face it, many parents don't have the best relationships with their children.  Because they work with thousands of kids, the schools know all about parent/child dysfunction and it's connection to drug abuse.  For such families, the school is offering to play a vital role in drug abuse intervention.  Even if the threat of drug testing doesn't stop your child from doing drugs, it might well reveal that he/she is in fact doing them -- which is something you absolutely need to know about, if that's the case.

I know it's best to have a trusting relationship but having one should not lull you into a false sense of security.  We all know kids from our own schools, as we grew up, who did drugs because of curiosity or peer pressure or the desire to fit in . . . not because of poor relationships with their parents.  There are no guarantees your child will remain drug free (if he's not already doing drugs without your knowledge).

I was a druggie between the ages of 16 and 30.  I've seen good kids loose years of their lives and a few lost their lives altogether.  The school is right to be concerned about the problem and to offer whatever intervention, disincentives or assistance they can.

And if you have a typical parent-child relationship with your teen, and decide to take advantage of such a school-sponsored program, you need to tell your children that the threat of drugs in modern society is simply too real to ignore.  Let them know the stakes are so high that you'll take any help you can get.

Then keep working on that relatioship . . .

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