Note: Our school district is considering random drug testing . I was unable to attend the open meeting about it, so I wrote and sent this letter to the school board. I will send it to the local paper as well. C
Dear Lake Zurich School District 95 Board Members:
As the mother of three children in the LZ District 95, I am opposed to drug testing at LZHS, or anywhere in district 95. I am also adamantly against ONLY drug testing of kids involved in extracurricular activities and those with parking passes.
There are several reasons for my opposition. First and foremost, it is MY responsibility as a parent to monitor or test for drug or alcohol usage. I do not think that “randomly” choosing students—who are involved in school activities—to test is the job of the school district.
Second, I feel this is a huge invasion of privacy for our children. Though I cannot change rules already in place about repercussions from other offsite drinking/drug use, I personally do not think that the school district should be testing for things students do off site, off hours, off school days.
By implementing drug testing, you are assuming that my children are guilty until proven innocent. Unless they are behaving strangely or putting themselves or others in danger, I do not think that they need this additional stress or imposition in their daily school lives. Worrying about exams, classes, homework, social pressures, participating in teams and activities, and outside jobs is stressful enough for these teenagers. They should not have to worry about being pulled out AT ANY TIME for being drug tested. Being singled out will add additional stress to each day, wondering if they might be next.
What about the hair testing itself? Online research will show that hair testing shows a bias to dark haired or dark skinned individuals. While that may actually benefit my children, I do not think this is fair for ANY child. And you will penalize a child for activities they may have participated up to 180 days ago? Wow, that is shocking. Maybe I should be grounded today for things I did in college.
Has the board seen the many websites that sell products to help pass a hair drug test? The kids who might try something one time probably won’t buy these products, and they might fail a test. Some of the “cusp” kids who aren’t quite sure which road to take might take the easy route of either buying those myriad or products or simply falling “out of notice” of the school board random testing by uninvolving themselves in all activities—and perhaps moving down the wrong path.
Finally, my daughter currently at the high school and I talked at length about these issues – which is exactly what parents are supposed to do. In addition to having similar feelings, she insists that the results will not stay confidential. With texting making the gossip grapevine almost instantaneous, students will be able to communicate who is tested, who is removed from activities, etc.
While I think that the school board had good intentions with this effort, I strongly believe that the board should listen to the residents and let us parent our children and the district educate them. And remember that these are teenagers, who will make mistakes. Isn’t that one way we learn—even as adults?