Random Drug and Alcohol Tests for Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by jojo808, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Our union is about to ratify a new contract, and we vote this Thursday. One of the additions is random drug and alcohol testing of teachers. I don't have a problem with that, (and hopefully it will lead to RDT for students, etc.) but just thought I'd ask here if anyone has experience with this sort of clause in thier contract.

    I got an email forwarded to me from someone saying that RDT have a 30% change of being a false positive. I tried to verify this number but was unsuccessful. That high number scares me. Does anyone here have drug testing?

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    We're being drug tested starting next year. It's for all school employees and students in middle & high school who participate in extra-curricular activities.

    My father-in-law has been drug tested regularly and random for a long time. False positives aren't really a big deal. They're common enough so that it's not a huge ordeal. FIL has had them. All they do is send him for a blood test, which is more accurate than the urine test.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    When I first read the original post I was prepared to say that I had no problem with RDT for teachers. BUT, then I read Ima's post...and by God I'm not getting blood work done because a urine test was faulty. I've NEVER touched anything - drugs or alcohol. I have a serious problem with blood work!!!
     
  5. JenL

    JenL Comrade

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    i was a college athlete and we had random drug tests frequently and noone on my team ever got a false positive....i don't know how accurate that 30% number was.
     
  6. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    I can't even imagine the number of teachers we would lose if we were to implement this here. There are a lot of serious drinkers, including our administration, one of whom just made a DUI "go away." It was all over the news.

    I totally agree with random tests!!! We expect our students to be clean, and we should expect the same for the faculty. We all know the science behind it, that substance abuse kills brain cells. I want to keep all mine!!!

    If you don't have anything to hide....

    Also, just to let you all know, I'm a diabetic, and diabetics give false positives on breathalizer tests. I have blown into one randomly, just for "fun," and blew a .100!!!! Much to my shock!!!! I researched it more on the internet, and diabetics have an acid in their breath that mimics alcohol that would be measured by a breathalizer. I would have to be blood tested to prove my innocence.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    When my FIL had his false positive, it was due to residual pain medications that were still in his system after his hip surgery.
     
  8. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Everyone be aware - if you eat poppy seed foods, it can show up in your test as an opiate! So if you are up for random tests, pass on the poppy seeds. This actually happened to a friend of mine in the coast guard! He got statements from his pastor that he was not a drug user, and they didn't get him on it. He said he had been on a poppy seed roll binge - seriously!
     
  9. Yen

    Yen Rookie

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    When I got hired at my school district last summer, I was shocked that they didn't do a drug test. I came from a place I consider to be more relaxed than here, and they do their own fingerprint background checks and drug testing. I suppose I expected it from a school district.
    It wouldn't matter to me either way if my district implemented it, I know I'm clean. :D
     
  10. childcare teach

    childcare teach Comrade

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    they do the random test at some school in the state .
     
  11. saintdawg

    saintdawg Rookie

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    I have had several jobs with random drug testing and have never considered it a big deal. I agree that if we expect our kids to be clean we need to be as well.

    Cheers
     
  12. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    I disagree with random drug & alcohol testing.

    We do have to undergo an FBI check / fingerprinting, etc., which I totally agree with.
     
  13. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    How long does alcohol stay in your system? I don't have a problem with the drug testing, because, well... it's illegal anyway, and we really DON'T want our good teacher role models doing somethingl ike that, on or off the clock.

    But I don't have a problem with a teacher having a drink (or even a few) to unwind in the evening as long as it doesn't affect their school performance.

    But i'm also woefully uninformed about how long stuff stays in your system... is have a drink or 2 last night going to jeopardize a job if it comes up in a drug test the next day?

    I had to do a drug test before my job 4 years ago, but haven't been asked for one in either of the last 2... although we do have to do fingerprint/background checks.
     
  14. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Your body can metabolize the equivalent of one drink per hour. That's one 12 oz beer, a 4oz glass of wine, or a 1oz shot of liquor (shot or mixed in a drink). If you got home from school and had two glasses of wine before bed, you would be fine. If you drank a 24 case of beer starting at 8PM, you would be in trouble!!!!

    I don't have any problem with drinking, it's people who allow drinking to run their life. If you are having tremors at school, showing up drunk, still drunk from the night before, reek of alcohol or smoke, or embarrass yourself publicly, then there's a major problem!!!
     
  15. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I have mixed feelings about this subject. My hospital did not require a pre-emplyment screening, nor does it do any other type of drug screening. I'm pretty sure there are some pot smokers amongst the employees, and probably worse. I think in the case of people like me who deal with people's safety, I wouldn't be opposed. If it's done, it should include everyone, from administration on down.

    I suppose the same would apply to the teaching profession, although life or death doesn't actually hang in the balance in your case.
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I take ADHD medication. How would that work out?
     
  17. kburen

    kburen Cohort

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    I was surprised that I have held a good number of jobs working with children and have NEVER had a drug or alcohol test done. 1) Day Care 2) Substitute teaching in 2 counties 3) teaching summer school in one county and 4) fulltime teaching in another county and 5) a summer job teaching space camp and dinosaur camp. I think we should be tested.....if you have to pee in a cup to flip burgers, you should definatly have to pee in a cup to teach children (come on...we could be influencing those kids forever)
     
  18. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Amen!!! I had to get a drug test to sell copiers, which is definitely not a life changing event, such as teaching is.

    What do you think of making each school employee have one each year? And then random are a possibility too. Is that legal?
     
  19. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    We drug-tested as a pre-employment condition. I can't see why there is a need for ongoing drug testing? That's one thing you don't hear about teachers, problems with drugs. I don't get it.
     
  20. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    We have to have police checks done approx every two years, but drug and alcohol tests? Maybe I come from a different world than some, but I consider it an insult. I don't smoke, do drugs or drink (not even a drink at Christmas) and as I can appreciate that someone who doesn't know me would not automatically know this, as teachers we are professionals and we have jumped through numerous hoops to get where we are. We should be treated with the professionalism and dignity that we deserve and have worked so hard for. Random testing of this sort would feel like a slap in the face. Now, I may feel different if I had seen/been exposed to harsher life conditions, but where I am, it just doesn't fit in with our reality.
     
  21. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    I personally find the whole thing insulting. What next? Random home inspections? Sorry. I am borderline libertarian though. Once they start doing this random thing for doctors then maybe I will be more open minded about it.

    Where I work, you are subject to drug/alcohol testing if administration suspects a problem. But I have never heard of anyone actually getting tested.
     
  22. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sarge

    Any medication that is prescribed for you by a doctor is okay. All you have to do is take a list of your meds with you when you go for the test (I keep one in my purse).
     
  23. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    I think a lot of teachers agree that we need to be drug free. It is just that each test will cost $250. We don't even have science or social studies textbooks. Also, are there even any statistics proving that random drug tests prevent drug use?

    On the other hand, 3 teachers and 2 school employees were charged with selling/using drugs this year, so I can see that RDT will help parents feel better.
     
  24. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    I was wondering about the cost, too. Good point about the stats.
     
  25. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I didn't know that test was so expensive! That's ridiculous! Maybe we're all in the wrong business.

    (I wonder who's making money from mandated drug tests, and how many lobbyists they have advocating for them with state and federal legislators)
     
  26. kburen

    kburen Cohort

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    I can see how some people feel that it would be an insult....But on the same note...Now a days parents get upset if they find out that teachers do ANYTHING "outside of the norm" even in their own personal time and life...How many issues is it going to cause if a teacher gets caught with the drugs, or buying drugs? Especially if it's something that could have been prevented (no, it may not stop them from using, but it would stop them from getting the job in the first place). Honestly, I've had parents who would have been upset to know that I taught their children and I have tattoos. *shrug* Just my opinion :)
     
  27. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    That's because tatoos are associated with the seamy side of life, especially extensive ones. Just keep your tatoo covered at work, that should do.

    People see their childrens' teachers as potential role models, and don't want them to be associated with undesirable subcultures. I want my childrens' teachers to appear somewhat conformist while on the job.
     
  28. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Another thing, kbruen, actually parents of today are much MORE tolerant of casual dress than in the past. My first husband went to school in Pennsylvania in the 1950s and the teachers were required to be UNMARRIED!
     
  29. kburen

    kburen Cohort

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    Right....And I don't show my tattoos at school, they may see them if they see me in the store during the summer or weekend (on my sholder) but I don't discuss them and most people don't even know I have them. My point is that if parents get that upset about tattoos (a simple moon and stars), how are they going to feel if they find out that their childs teacher uses drugs and the school system did nothing to find out before hiring them?
     
  30. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Probably they won't find out, since employee files are confidential.

    Most drugs don't stay very long in one's system to show up in a urine drug screen, so pre-employment testing is pretty much a waste of time. Pot is the only thing that will show up after 48-72 hours.

    Random drug testing is the only way to accurately check on drug use. At $250 a pop, plus the ridiculous spectacle of interupting the teacher's day to make them pee in a cup? It doesn't sound practical.
     

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