Recently, I ran across an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionwhich brought a controversial issue up again for me. Should high school athletes by randomly tested for drugs? In my opinion, yes.
The story focused on the recent death of a high school quarterback in Georgia, who died in a car accident. The 17-year-old student was legally drunk and had cocaine in his system the night of his accident.
For many parents of teenagers, this brings up the issue of who is truly responsible for their children. I understand that issue. Being the parent of a 16-year-old myself, I feel that it is, ultimately, my responsibility to regulate my daughter’s behavior. That being said, however, when a child is representing the school by taking part in school-sponsored activities, I feel they have the responsibility to make sure the students representing them are doing so in a dignified and legal manner.
My daughter is not an athlete, but she does represent the school in marching band, as well as on the math and academic teams. If the school system decided to require drug testing for these activities, I would have no problem with it. No, I’m not in favor of taking away freedoms from our teenagers or anyone else. But I am in favor of teaching kids responsibility and, in my mind, showing them the consequences of participating in an illegal activity falls directly into that category.
The consequences for positive drug tests by schools mentioned in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article were as follows:
First offense: mandatory follow-up testing and drug counseling with the student’s parents
Second offense: suspension from activity or sports for 30-45 days
Third offense: suspension from activity or sports for a year
I can promise you that, as a parent, the consequences I would hand out would be more severe. What about the rest of you out there? Do your teens participate in sports or activities where drug testing is required? Do you feel drug testing for school sports or other activities should be mandatory? Let me know how you feel.