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NKY Youth Foundation: Drug Tests for Students Not the Answer

This statement from the Northern Kentucky Youth Foundation's executive director Ryan Courtade was provided to RCN following the publication of the story about Covington Independent Public Schools' possible adoption of a student drug-testing policy:


Simply put: Drugs are bad.

Our kids shouldn’t be using them. Kentucky educators and school boards should do everything in their power to educate, deter drug use, and to make sure safety and good health are a foundation of what’s being taught and represented.

It’s not clear if some school districts have a drug epidemic. But we bet community members will agree their school district has a perception issue. It is a distinct feeling that for some school districts, the whole random-testing nudge is rooted in perception instead of prevention.

School districts in Kentucky should instead invest the time, energy and dollars they are considering putting into random testing into a larger, cutting-edge program on drug education and prevention.

Opponents of schools using random drug testing often ask, “Are they testing teachers? Administrators? Is this even legal?”

Those are the wrong questions.

Instead, ask: Does your school district want to lead or follow?

Encourage your school board members to be innovative and forward-thinking and to build a top drug education and prevention program. Provide better training for school staff in identifying possible users. Have more effective education for athletes. Focus on more awareness in general about the negative effects of drug use, complete with powerful seminars led by athletes and others who have a story to tell.

The decision to adopt a student drug testing program is entirely in the discretion of the local board of education. There is no state law that requires a district to adopt a policy or program. Student drug testing is not the answer.

Addressing this issue will take your community to get involved. We hope that you will voice your concern to your local school board members for the need of prevention and education instead of testing.

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