School Does Random Drug Tests of 10-Year-Old Students

school officeOne Pennsylvania mom is taking on the school board after her 10-year-old daughter was drug tested for the third time in a single school year. The fifth grader is an honors student at her middle school, where any child who joins an after-school activity is randomly drug tested throughout the year.

But with the latest test, mom decided to take some action. Some board members even agreed that their policies need to be reviewed, so the district will be going over their testing rules.


But 10 years old. Fifth graders are being tested for drugs. Let that sink in.

This student tested negative all three times, so she's clearly not a user. So what did the testing actually do? Besides, you know, terrify the child?

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the average age of the first use of marijuana is 14. That's the age of your average eighth grader or a freshman in high school. Would that not, instead, be a more appropriate age to begin drug testing? The kids are closer to or at high school age. They're interacting more with older kids and in some cases are around seniors. They're no longer in elementary school and have matured physically, mentally, and emotionally. And they can finally grasp the idea of randomized drug testing vs. being "in trouble" when they haven't done anything wrong.

But a 10-year-old? Not so much. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 8.1 percent of kids have tried marijuana before the age of 13. A scary number, but still pretty low, and not indicative of drug use at age 10. 

Again, is 10 too young to be checking for traces of substances?

More from The Stir: Should Kids Be Taught About Club Drugs & Pill Parties ... in Elementary School?!

Forget for a moment whether or not drug testing in school is productive (studies show that they don't do much to deter kids from using substances), and think about whether or not it's beneficial to be randomly testing 10-year-olds, who, more than likely, are completely trouble-free.

What are your thoughts on drug testing in schools? When should it begin -- if at all?


Image via Ken Shelton/Flickr

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