The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

May 29, 2014

Wake up call

Drug testing may help prevent kids from becoming addicted

— The Raleigh County Board of Education put a proposed drug testing policy out for 30-day comment at its Tuesday meeting.

The only students affected would be those who participate in the simulated workplace program at the Academy of Careers and Technology.

This proposal is vastly different from controversial one the board put forth in 2013 under which every student in grades 6-12 who wanted to participate in school-related competitive events, including academic activities, or to drive to school would have to submit to random drug-testing.

That policy was never put into practice. This one should be.

The drug testing policy endorsed Tuesday differs on a variety of levels — and it is because of those differences that we think it is a good idea.

Students who would fall under testing are part of a West Virginia Department of Education initiative that turns the classroom into a simulated business environment. The simulation gives the students a look at the real world they will face when they leave school.

To be a part of this program, which encompasses culinary arts, dental assisting, computer repair, careers and education, diesel technology and automotive technology, the students would have to agree to submit to drug testing.

In today’s workplace, pre-employment and on-the-job drug testing are just another part of doing business.

And that, according to ACT Principal Charles Pack, is the point.

There will be those who are against any drug testing policy. We believe they do a disservice to students.

Older students, especially those ready to make the leap from a school setting into the workplace, must realize that making poor choices have consequences.

Parents, teachers, advisers and others can talk about the pitfalls of drug use until they are out of breath. It’s also true that many teens are sure they know better than the adults in their lives and blow off the warnings.

We don’t believe that such drug testing at this stage in their lives is going to weed out the massively addicted. They probably wouldn’t be found in this situation anyway.

What this can be is the wake up call a student needs to prevent him or her from becoming massively addicted.

Some tough consequences early in the game may be the deterrent these kids need.

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