To Test or Not To Test? Drug Testing Teachers: The View of the Superintendent
by Todd A. DeMitchell, Stephen Kossakoski & Tony Baldasaro - 2008
Purpose: School superintendents are charged with maintaining the safety and security of the schools in their district. One major recognized threat to the security and safety of students and staff is the use of illegal drugs. Superintendents are responding to the constitutionality of student drug-testing policies by implementing drug-testing programs. Are superintendents implementing drug-testing policies in response to recent court decisions that have allowed for the preemployment and the suspicionless drug testing of teachers?
Population: Superintendents nationwide were randomly selected for the study.
Research Design: A mixed methodology was used to address the following questions: (1) Have school districts adopted a mandatory drug-testing policy, either preemployment or suspicionless, for teachers? (2) Do superintendents support a mandatory drug-testing policy, either preemployment or suspicionless, for teachers? (3) Do superintendents have differentiated support for preemployment and suspicionless drug-testing policies for teachers? Legal analysis was used to map the applicable court cases and constitutional ground that forms the foundation of drug testing. Quantitative analysis was used on the 144 returned surveys. The third part of the methodology was an analysis of short-answer questions using quasi-qualitative methods.
Conclusions: This study found that superintendents believe that they have the authority, without offending the Constitution, to implement teacher preemployment and suspicionless drug-testing policies. However, in large part, they are not implementing such policies. The responding superintendents have a greater comfort level with preemployment testing than suspicionless drug testing of teachers. Most superintendents believed that the drug problem among teachers was not large enough to warrant action, but many reserved the right to revisit the implementation of such policies if the circumstances in their school district changed.
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