March 16, 2023
Drug testing is not routinely conducted in the vast majority of public and private schools. However, a lot of people are questioning whether or not they should begin requiring drug tests as a prerequisite for employment. Furthermore, they are questioning whether or not they should administer random drug tests to teachers while they are employed.
If it is common in other professions, then it only makes sense that it should also be required for teachers. After all, these are the people we trust our children to for the majority of the day. They are the ones who are responsible for teaching and taking care of students. Logically, it only makes sense. If it is common in other professions, then it should also be required for teachers and support staff.
The widespread opinion is that educators who test positive for drugs should be fired. Or, at the very least, required to attend drug counseling. Concerns about their children being negatively influenced by their peers are a common source of anxiety for parents. However, the situation is made much worse when the teachers who are in charge of ensuring the students are responsible are irresponsible themselves.
We make this mandatory for truck drivers and many other professions, but why not teachers? They hold some of the most respectable jobs on the planet. Yet, it’s okay if they have a drug or alcohol problem? The answer is no. It is not only not okay. But it would also be horrible for the children and school involved should something happen.
Although the vast majority of schools do not conduct drug tests, the decision to do so can be influenced by a number of different factors. Some of these include:
These elements are considered when looking at why drug tests are not utilized. Furthermore, private schools do not receive funding from the government. Because of this, they are free to establish their own policies regarding hiring practices and drug testing.
For instance, teachers at boarding schools are physically present in the same space as their students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The school and the parents can experience a sense of relief when they are aware that the adults who are responsible for watching over the students are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But, yet they are not often required to. Why would that be?
It is said that the steep price tag was the primary factor that prevented schools from adopting drug testing. Nevertheless, some states, such as Missouri and Hawaii, are thinking about instituting drug testing. The state of Hawaii made an effort to make random drug testing the norm. This came about after six educators were arrested for drug-related offenses. The state went so far as to incentivize the program. They offer teachers a pay increase of 11% if they agreed to participate in the program. (1)
In addition, the majority of school districts follow who are comparable to one another regarding testing. School bus drivers are the only ones who are required to submit to random and mandatory drug testing. This is due to the state requirements for their professional driver’s license.
If you were to ask the general public, we believe you would find that there would be an overwhelming answer to this question, YES! Teachers do not hold a position that makes sense to skip drug and alcohol testing. They are not above anyone else that would need to have this done, so why are we not doing it more often?
While having a drug and alcohol test done in the past might have been quite a substantial investment, the tests are very inexpensive nowadays. In most cases, a quantitative test, a simple test stating yes or no to the use of drugs and alcohol in the system, would be fairly reasonable to ask of any staff member within a school. Furthermore, it is quite affordable.
If you think about it, we are putting money over the safety of our children, which doesn’t sit well with most people. Especially when we are talking about some of the most influential people to our children. These are the people that our children look up to and are around for the majority of their day. Why wouldn’t it make sense to have drug testing just as we do for most other jobs in the US?
Teaching is a very demanding and stressful job that is most due out of love for children. However, it is your job as a school official to ensure that everyone in that school is safe to be around children. While a criminal background check is very important, so is a drug screening of not only the teachers but the supporting staff as well. Don’t you find it a little strange that the bus drivers have to take these sorts of tests, but the rest of the personnel that has more contact with the children are exempt in many cases?
Here at Wolfe, we provide a variety of drug tests to suit the needs of our clients. Our team of experts helps you determine what level of drug testing and screening would be best for your situation. While there is regulated testing that is required for DOT drug tests, the regulations for testing teachers aren’t something that is established. This means that, as a school, you will need to establish your own rules as to what you test for, how often you test, and what the requirements for testing are. Things such as whether you are going to test during the hiring process or random tests during the school year need to be considered.
You will need to establish these rules and regulations so that you are fair to everyone in the school district. Should you have questions or concerns about the policies and procedures you, need to establish, please reach out. Our team of experts has helped many companies and schools with this process and is happy to help. Call 800-230-2991 to find out more.
Wolfe Inc. is here to help employers and medical providers combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic by offering the most comprehensive drug testing services available. Our Team of employment toxicology testing experts are here to assist your practice, company or school system with any questions you might have!