Superintendent Alex Geordan discusses the effectiveness of student drug testing in schools.
Mandatory drug testing is a commonly debated topic among teachers, parents, and school officials. Recent studies from the Institute of Education Sciences have shown that student drug testing has shown positive effects on numerous students and school systems. Superintendent Alex Geordan recently discussed the effectiveness of such testing.
“Studies have shown that in-school drug testing in high schools has resulted in less drug use among students,” Alex Geordan said. “Less drug use leads to a number of positives for the students, their families, and the school system.”
Alex Geordan explained that the study by the Institute of Education Sciences, The Effectiveness of Mandatory-Random Student Drug Testing, compared high schools using in-school drug testing for students in extracurricular activities and those without testing. Results showed that the schools with testing reported less substance abuse overall. In fact, the study of more than 4,700 students showed a number of additional positive results.
“Many school officials and parents think drug testing may discourage kids from participating in extracurricular activities,” Alex Geordan said. “Extracurricular activities have been proven to provide a number of benefits to kids of all backgrounds, so that’s obviously a valid concern.”
However, Alex Geordan stated the same study showed no evidence that the implementation of drug testing reduced the students’ desire to participate in extracurricular activities. The study also showed no link between drug testing and a decreased connection to the school. Alex Geordan explained that the goal of in-school drug testing is not to scare kids or remove kids currently using drugs from the system.
“The goal is to reduce substance abuse and promote healthier, more fulfilling lives for all students,” Alex Geordan said.
Alex Geordan added that he doesn’t promote drug testing as a way to minimize substance abuse among students. Testing has been proven to reduce substance abuse and have a number of positive “spillover” effects on students who may not be participating in extracurricular activities. These students are influenced by their peers, so when students involved in extracurricular activities are foregoing the use of drugs, the positive effect spills over to other kids as well.
“We also believe that drug-testing will never be a stand-alone solution to drug abuse problems in high schools across the country,” Alex Geordan said. “It could be used alongside other methods, at school and at home, to help prevent drug use among teens.”
Alex Geordan explained that a major portion of drug-use prevention begins at home in the family setting. He encourages parents to educate themselves on the harmful effects of substance abuse, so they can properly educate their children. Alex Geordan cited peer prevention and in-school educational programs as additional ways to help keep drugs out of schools and out of the lives of students.