Ran­dom drug tests

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

With the school sea­son fast ap­proach­ing, the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s (DepEd) pro­posal to con­duct ran­dom drug test­ing on high school stu­dents, teach­ers and school per­son­nel may be par for the course un­der the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, but it’s not with­out com­plaints.

The mil­i­tant Al­liance for Con­cerned Teach­ers (ACT) Cebu chap­ter sup­pos­edly ques­tioned the plan, say­ing a ran­dom drug test should in­clude all teach­ers and not just teach­ers sus­pected of drug use.

In that sense, they are right but it seems the DepEd is mak­ing good on its com­mit­ment to con­duct ran­dom drug tests that will in­clude stu­dents. Pri­vate schools are ex­empted since they have their own poli­cies on drug tests, said Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Leonor Bri­ones.

While the par­ents will be in­formed since the stu­dents are mi­nor, the like­li­hood that some of these stu­dents know­ing how best to avoid be­ing de­tected for drug use is also con­sid­ered.

DepEd has ac­knowl­edged that some of its teach­ers were found to have used drugs and ped­dled drugs to their stu­dents. One such teacher in a town in Cebu prov­ince op­er­ated a drug den that hap­pened to be lo­cated near a po­lice precinct.

A Danao City-based teacher iden­ti­fied as Jerry Pono was shot sev­eral times by still uniden­ti­fied as­sailants, pre­sum­ably vig­i­lantes, last Mon­day, and po­lice said Pono is in­cluded in their watch list of sus­pected drug deal­ers.

Con­versely, some of the more en­ter­pris­ing stu­dents were also tap­ping teach­ers des­per­ate for cash to help them ped­dle drugs to their cus­tomers who in­clude fel­low stu­dents.

These drug-deal­ing teach­ers may not be in the league of a Walter White, that bio­chem­istry teacher in the just-con­cluded Emmy award-win­ning Net­flix se­ries “Break­ing Bad” that started a drug em­pire, but they don’t need to be.

But we’re di­gress­ing here. The fo­cus is on drug test­ing where schools and the DepEd can find out for them­selves if their teach­ers and stu­dents are clean or not and start from there.

We hope that in the con­duct of ran­dom drug tests that the con­fi­den­tial­ity clause will be hon­ored by those con­duct­ing the drug tests since any leak of pos­i­tive test re­sults can se­ri­ously dam­age a teacher’s or a stu­dent’s rep­u­ta­tion.

A barangay chair­man in Cebu City found that out to his cha­grin and al­leged that it was a form of po­lit­i­cal ha­rass­ment. In the case of stu­dents and teach­ers, an ini­tial pos­i­tive drug test will be fol­lowed by an­other con­fir­ma­tory test to be deter­mined by them in an un­spec­i­fied date.

With the ran­dom drug test, not only will stu­dents and teach­ers be kept hon­est but those us­ing and ped­dling drugs may be forced to re­form lest they be found out and suf­fer the full con­se­quences of their ac­tions.

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