Random Drug Testing For Teachers Could Be Possible

Random Drug Testing For Teachers Could Be Possible
Posted by FoM on October 22, 1999 at 13:43:36 PT
The Associated Press
Source: Alabama Live
Some Alabama school officials say they don't believe recent federal court rulings will drastically change the state's policy of teacher drug testing, despite Attorney General Bill Pryor's claim the rulings could bring about random testing. 
Pryor called the ruling "an important precedent" and notified school officials this week that it could possibly translate into more freedom in administering tests. But Michael R. White, the general counsel for the state Department of Education, said he "would urge a degree of caution." Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a challenge by teachers who say drug testing violates their rights. Following the justices' lack of action on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, public schools in Knox County, Tenn., can require everyone offered a teaching job to take and pass a drug test. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, has not addressed random drug-testing of teachers. The 6th Circuit ruling would give Alabama school systems some legal backing to administer random drug tests of teachers, White said. But he said he would advise Alabama schools to continue testing teachers only if there's a valid suspicion of drug use unless the 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court addresses the issue. "There is a degree of vulnerability to a school system that would undertake random drug testing of teachers," White said. State School Superintendent Ed Richardson said in a Birmingham News article published today that he believes school boards "should have the prerogative to check for drug use. I think it's absolutely essential." "I believe we must take every precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of our students," Richardson said. Some school officials said they felt there perhaps should be limits on the testing. "I think there are certain categories of employees who should be tested on a regular basis," said Jefferson County School Superintendent Bruce Wright. "But I don't know if I feel like every employee needs to be tested on a regular basis." Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association, said he believes the 6th Circuit ruling would allow the testing of new teachers or existing teachers who assume new responsibilities because of a transfer or promotion. But he doesn't think the ruling would open the door to drug screening all teachers without cause. "They would not have the unfettered right to line up every employee," he said. "They're going to have to have a policy, and they're going to have to administer that policy uniformly." The AEA will closely monitor how schools administer drug tests, Hubbert said. "We would not want anyone to be abused or to see this used in any sort of punitive fashion," he said. The only school employees currently tested to any degree are workers whose jobs duties carry clear safety-related concerns, such as bus drivers. The ruling in Tennessee classified teachers as "safety-sensitive" workers, which Hubbert questioned. Wright said he supports drug screenings for any employee who drives county-owned or leased vehicles and any employee who has unsupervised contact with children. Wright does not consider teachers to be unsupervised employees. Please send any questions orcomments to news 10/22/99 3:29 PM EasternCopyright 1999 Associated PressRelated Article:Supreme Court Allows Drug Tests For New Teachers - 10/04/99
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on October 23, 1999 at 14:33:19 PT
Hitler is laughing, somewhere....
This is another example of high-and-mighty sounding precepts being used to camouflage a *commercial* enterprise which will directly benefit those fronting for it. Ask yourself this question: who got the ball rolling? Average citizens lobbying their representatives? Joe Blow worried about his kids and pounding on the desks of the school administrators?Or is it that someone stands to benefit enormously from gaining the contract to conduct the tests (all for the public good, they unctuously remind you) and has been the leading voice in this matter?The testing 'industry' is just like certain parasitic microorganisms; they need new hosts to feed on to live. It is continually arguing for more testing of population groups in order to justify its own existence. And, just like their biological analogs, it poisons a system it live in... in this case, corroding our rights as a free people, by an a priori assumption of guilt which can only be expunged by undergoing a degrading process to prove our innocence. Justice turned on its' ear... and the Constitution flung down the toilet. This is exactly the way the Nazi's did it... "If you're innocent, you have nothing to worry about".Is this what this country was supposed to be about?
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