Ellwood’s drug screening re-ignites heated debate

Published 8:55am Friday, November 15, 2013

It’s a contract. It’s an agreement. But, in the end, is it worth it?

Wednesday, 60 of the 140 students at Ellwood Christian Academy were required to go through a drug screening. It was a surprise test organized by the school and Dallas County Court Services.

The students selected receive partial or total scholarships to attend the school. It is part of the contract they and their parents agree to when entering school that scholarship students could be required to take a drug test.

For quite some time, there has been an ongoing debate about the practice of random drug testing on student athletes, scholarship students and even regular students who are not on scholarship or part of an athletic team.

Some are opposed to the tests, saying it is an invasion of the student’s privacy, subjecting them to scrutiny when there is no evidence of the student using drugs.

On the other side, there are those who say random drug screenings provide the best way to ensure students avoid using drugs of any kind, worrying about the ramifications of what if they test positive.

Both sides have a good argument, which is why the debate will rage long after the results of Ellwood’s drug testing come back; results that will be kept confidential between the school and the student.

Drug screenings are more prevalent today than ever before and not just those beginning to be seen at the schoolhouse. Businesses are using the practice in pre-employment screenings in an effort to reduce future liabilities and drug-related issues down the road.

For full disclosure, the Times-Journal is one of those companies, that includes a drug screening as part of any new hiring process.

Today’s world is much different than the one many of us grew up in. Drugs are sadly much easier to get a hold of and those using illegal drugs continue to get younger and younger by the day.

If the officials at Ellwood Christian Academy believe Wednesday’s drug screening is something needed to ensure a safe and secure educational experience, then it was money well spent.

And, as our communities continue to battle drugs, other schools and systems in the area might consider drug screenings as money well invested. Are Dallas County or Selma City Schools next?

 

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