Plans to Drug-Test Teachers Face Opposition

    A number of schools across the U.S. want to administer random drug tests to teachers, but the proposals are hitting strong opposition from educators and teachers’ unions.

    USA Today reported Jan. 18 that schools in North Carolina, West Virginia and Hawaii have sought to join at least four school districts in Kentucky that require teachers to submit to random alcohol and other drug testing.

    Just a small fraction of districts around the country have considered or implemented drug testing for teachers, although testing of students — and particularly student-athletes — is more common.

    In West Virginia, a proposed testing policy has been halted by a federal appeals court thanks to teacher opposition, and a similar policy in Hawaii is awaiting a review by a state board. Graham County, N.C., also has proposed testing of teachers, but that policy is currently being challenged in a state appeals court.

    Drug testing “would be in our view a waste of money, because there is no problem that a drug-testing program can address,” said Michael Simpson, an attorney with the National Education Association.


    January 2009