Protecting our kids is a parent’s primary responsibility.
I’ve yet to meet an adult who would disagree that parents or other responsible adults are in the first position to protect, provide and care for our youth.
So the question becomes, how far do we go to protect our kids — even when it may be from themselves?
I say, whatever it takes. I am thrilled when I hear of schools like Lake Highland Preparatory that are willing to stand strong in an effort to protect our kids — despite the sometimes few resistant parents at a school — and drug-test students anyway. What a great way to show these young people that we really care about them and their futures.
My son smoked his first joint on a student government field trip with the leaders of the high school.
Do I blame the school? No. As a parent, I was in the first position of protection, and I missed my opportunity.
However, if the school had been randomly and regularly testing students before this trip, he may have chosen to say no to his peers when they offered him that first joint. “I can’t; my mom will find out.”
At the least, he may have tested positive, and I would have been able to intervene early before the problem grew into something bigger and more costly (emotionally and financially) to our family.
Regular and random drug testing serves as a deterrent. I don’t know anyone who gets in his car and is thrilled to “buckle up,” but we all do it because we know it saves lives. As the mother of a son who nearly lost his life to drugs and whose sister recently lost her lifelong battle with drug abuse, I wonder how many kids across this country could be saved from the flood of drugs onto their campuses with this one simple act?
One argument I’ve often heard is that drug testing breaks trust with kids.
Let’s remember how trust is built. We set a boundary, then verify the boundary has been met by taking actions. Can we imagine a school where teachers and administrators simply told students to get good grades without taking actions to help them learn or testing them to see what knowledge they’ve acquired?
The boundary of getting good grades is set, and then a multitude of actions are put into place to see that students achieve academically by teaching, testing and review. Yet, the ultimate verification that the student is doing well academically is a test.
Drug testing is no different. It is verification that our kids are successful at handling a prevalent, overwhelming and ever-changing drug culture and that they are succeeding.