NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 12, 2006

Since the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that random testing of student athletes and others in competitive extracurricular activities did not violate the students' privacy rights, the number of schools testing students for drug use is rising, funding for it has jumped and schools have begun to expand the categories of students who can be screened, says Donna Leinwand in USA Today.

The latest figures show that the ruling is being taken seriously:

  • Some 373 public secondary schools received federal money for testing in the 2005-06 school year, up from 79 schools two years ago, U.S. Department of Education records show.
  • The White House estimates that an additional 225 schools have locally funded programs.
  • President Bush has asked Congress to increase grant money for testing by 45 percent next year, to $15 million.

Yet the number of public schools with testing programs remains a tiny percentage of the 28,000 secondary schools nationwide.  Many districts have been reluctant to impose drug testing, fearing they could face challenges in state courts.

But the rise in testing suggests that such programs are "taking off," says David Evans of the Drug-Free Schools Coalition in New Jersey.  "This happened with workplace drug testing," he says.  "It started slowly and then grew."

Source: Donna Leinwand, "More schools test for drugs," USA Today, July 12, 2006

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