Drug testing employees is not uncommon, especially in specific industries requiring quick thinking. A single mistake could lead to an avoidable accident at the workplace. To ensure that any accidents are avoidable and avoid litigation, some industries require their employees to take drug tests.
However, people have always wondered whether these policies are present in the education field as well. After all, teachers serve as role models and parental figures to their students and communities.
Parents want to feel assured that teachers remain a positive influence on their children. But the question remains, do teachers across the United States take drug tests? The simple answer is:
No, teachers in most states and districts are not mandated to take drug tests except for those who drive students. However, there’re a few districts that require teachers to take drug tests pre-employment.
With over 3.2 million public school teachers and half a million private school teachers, a considerable amount of money would be required to test these teachers. The government and private schools would need to invest a significant amount into testing their teachers.
Additionally, maintaining a regular drug test policy would further increase any investment in the process. As a result, most states and districts refrain from drug testing teachers unless a teacher is suspected of usage or misbehavior.
Pros Of Workplace Drug Tests
Why is it relevant for companies, in general, to test employees for drugs?
Employees are less likely to commit an infraction if they’re aware of regularly screening by the company. This decreases the number of employees likely to take drugs, subsequently leading to fewer impaired workers and a lesser risk of accidents.
While the consequences of drug impairment may differ in different industries, consequences in companies that operate heavy machineries such as warehouses and contractors could be catastrophic.
Company Liability Reduction
Companies may be held liable for accidents at the workplace, especially in cases where they’re deemed to have failed in the maintenance of safe working environments.
Although regular drug tests could be expensive in large companies, it helps protect these companies from legal action by identifying employees likely to pose threat to safety at the workplace.
While drug usage can be harmful in the workplace, companies may regularly test employees for drug usage in an attempt to give them additional accountability to stay clean. Employees struggling to break free from drug addiction or usage will have an extra layer of accountability.
Accidents that happen at the workplace may sometimes come not only at a dire cost to individuals but also to the company. Legal bills, employee injuries, and damage to corporate property/equipment can all mount up in the long run.
When employees are drug tested regularly, possible mishaps can be avoided, saving the firm a significant amount of money in the long run.
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Cons Of Workplace Drug Tests
While workplace drug tests may have its benefits, it doesn’t come without disadvantages.
Workplace drug tests doesn’t come free for companies. They need to allocate substantial amounts to testing their employees, especially regularly. Depending on the size of the company, regular tests could cost anywhere from thousands a year upwards.
The cost for a single drug test could range anywhere from $40 to $55. If these tests are conducted multiple times per employee within the year, large companies especially would pay huge sums of money each year.
To avoid spending considerable amounts on these tests, some companies simply refrain from conducting these tests when avoidable.
One of the biggest problems associated with regular workplace drug tests has to do with the privacy of employees. While these tests serve a purpose, especially in environments that require quick thinking, employees resent taking these tests as they’re seen as an invasion of their privacy.
Some companies have even seen a reduction in employee morale and productivity resulting from the implementation of such workplace policies. This further leads to a decrease in the company’s revenue.
Are Teachers Drug Tested Pre-Employment
No, most states and districts do not mandate teachers to take drug tests before employment or even regular drug testing once employed. Some states, on the other hand, require teachers to take drug tests before being hired.
It’s advisable to identify your specific state or district’s regulations on drug tests for teachers before any teacher interview. That said, private schools that do not rely on funding from the government may have the financial capacity to institute drug testing for their teachers.
Even in states where drug tests for teachers aren’t mandatory, private schools have the flexibility to set their own regulations so long as they’re within reason. They can easily mandate pre-employment drug tests for their teachers.
Why Teachers Should Be Drug Tested
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why some bodies of thought have suggested that teachers should be drug tested.
Parents are growing increasingly interested in the education of their children in our modern world. This includes the school their children attend and the background of teachers employed in these schools.
Drug tests have become common in various other industries where critical thinking is involved. Understandably, parents would like to know the background of teachers with whom their children spend a majority of their days.
Teachers have the key responsibility of helping train the upcoming generation to be productive members of their communities. Any form of impairment caused by drugs would affect the students and their learning.
It could decrease the teacher’s ability to appropriately administer their duties. Drug testing ensures that teachers remain in the best frame of mind while teaching students.
Teachers serve as parental figures and role models to their students who may be impressionable. Students would consider the use of drugs as appropriate if their parental figure in school uses these drugs.
This becomes a negative influence on students and the teacher would be unable to help students who themselves might be struggling.
Impact On School
Parents and communities have some level of trust for schools in their communities which is why they’re willing to commit the education of their children to these schools and their teachers.
Unfortunately, this reputation can be negatively impacted if a teacher is identified doing something illegal, drunk, or even caught in possession of drugs. This not only impacts the teacher personally but also affects the trust of the community in the school.
Why Teachers Shouldn’t Be Drug Tested
While there may be acceptable reasons why teachers should be drug tested, we’re going to look at why they shouldn’t be drug tested
The cost for a single drug test could range anywhere from $40 to $55 per person. With over 3.7 million teachers across both public and private schools across the country, a minimum amount of 148million would be required to test every teacher once.
This amount increases significantly if these need to be taken multiple times each year. While some private schools may be able to offer these tests for their teachers, public schools would be unable to allocate such large sums of money for these tests.
Limited funding available to private schools would be better spent on infrastructure, essential school programs, and more.
Teachers like everyone else have the right to privacy. Drug testing may reveal not only what illicit narcotics a person is consuming, but also what prescribed prescriptions they are taking and whether or not they are pregnant. Forcing teachers to take these tests would be a violation of their privacy.
There’s no reason to test a teacher for drugs if they’re already doing their jobs and performing well. Unless they’ve exhibited some form of suspicious behavior, testing a teacher with exemplary performance wouldn’t be fair. Schools however have the right to test any teachers that exhibit suspicious behavior.