Should public schools randomly drug test students?

Central High School, Duluth, MN

Central High School, Duluth, Minn. (Mr Nixter / Flickr)

The Duluth school district is considering a policy that would require random drug tests for students.

Administrators view substance abuse as a growing problem, reports the Duluth News Tribune.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth said he’s thought about the merits of such a program for some time, long before he was chosen to lead the district.

“It’s one more way to give our kids an excuse not to do this,” he said of substance abuse. “I want to get out in front before it’s a huge problem.”

Districtwide, 35 students were either suspended or expelled for illegal drug use in 2010-11, with the number rising to 64 the following year. While the Minnesota Department of Education doesn’t separate suspensions and expulsions in its collection of such data, the School Board expelled very few students each of those years. For alcohol use, 16 students were suspended or expelled in 2010-11, with the number shrinking to nine the following year. For prescription drugs, there were three major disciplinary incidents in 2010-11 and one in 2011-12.

Today’s Question: Should public schools randomly drug test students?