A Massachusetts proposal giving schools the option to test students for drugs if a parent gives consent was made in a state with one of the nation’s highest rates of teen substance abuse, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Massachusetts could join a growing list of states and officials considering drug testing in schools, a measure supported by the Bush administration. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has conducted up a four-state summit on the values of student drug testing.
Critics say there is not proof that random testing lowers drug use, that such policies create a culture of distrust, and that any gains from the programs pale in comparison to their costs. Still, many states and schools are considering the measures. The Monitor gives examples in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The number of schools that are testing teens is not available. A 2003 University of Michigan study showed that 5 percent of schools tested student athletes, and only 2 percent of schools tested participants in extracurricular activities. Some 18 percent of schools tested for any reason, including suspicion of drug use.