Drug-Test Debacle in Miami-Dade Schools!

Drug-Test Debacle in Miami-Dade Schools!
Posted by FoM on July 08, 1999 at 11:06:46 PT
District ought to emphasize anti-drug education
Source: Miami Herald
Schools have at their disposal a powerful weapon in the war against drugs: education. So why do school officials keep blundering into a law-enforcement mode, as the Miami-Dade School Board did when it launched a drug-testing program?
Granted, to be effective, education must be age-appropriate. It must begin simply during a child's elementary years and become much more sophisticated in the difficult teen years. Fomenting peer-group disapproval of drugs is especially crucial in dealing with adolescents, the age cohort where drug experimentation often begins.Handled properly, however, education can work, enabling many students to build up a degree of immunity to the temptation to try drugs. Witness the drop in children's smoking after the state inaugurated a clever, well-funded campaign against tobacco.Not content with its educational role, however, the school board in 1998 approved a watered-down version of then-member Renier Diaz de la Portilla's drug-testing program. The board set aside $200,000 to cover the cost of testing some 5,000 students.By the time the program mercifully expired last week, however, only 37 students had been tested. Two were found to have traces of marijuana in their system. Their parents were duly notified.Mr. Diaz de la Portilla probably is correct that the program's failure was rooted in the board's decision to seek students' consent to be tested. He'd wanted the test to be mandatory for students chosen at random from among those whose parents had requested it.Yet there is something vaguely repugnant in a drug-testing scenario that randomly picks students who have given no one any probable cause to suspect that they've ever used drugs, causes them to miss class, takes them to a test site and subjects them to the indignities associated with supplying samples of bodily fluids.So Mr. Diaz de la Portilla's school-board colleagues balked at mandatory testing, as well they should have. Given an outpouring of parental concern, however, the board wasn't quite ready to block a drug-testing proposal in an election year. When the contract neared its end, however, they happily allowed it to expire.There still is recourse for those parents who are suspicious of, or sincerely worried about, their own children: They can take them to drug-testing facilities to have them checked out, albeit not at taxpayer expense.Meanwhile, the school district can get back to concentrating on what it's supposed to do above all else: education -- including instructions to counter the lure of drugs.Published Thursday, July 8, 1999, in the Miami Herald Copyright 1999 Miami Herald 
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Comment #2 posted by MarinÚs Arroyo on June 01, 2001 at 10:49:25 PT
Hi!I am looking for information about drugs in Miami schools (students from 12 to 18 years). I was wondering if you could help me to find statistics about drugs use in Miami Dade schools.I hope you can help me with that.MarinÚs
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Comment #1 posted by jackson on June 06, 2000 at 01:45:04 PT:
i need some info
hi my name i jackson wood i am 14 and i live in melbourne i was wanting to know if you could send me some info on drugs in schools for my debate thanks mate
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