Kids and drugs. They're just about every mom's worry. But just how far are you willing to go to keep the two apart? Would you let your 13-year-old be drug tested just so she can take part in extracurricular activities at her junior high?
That's the question parents in Marion, Ohio are facing right now. Pleasant Middle School has made drug testing mandatory for any student involved in extracurricular activities.
EVERY extracurricular activity.
Nice message they're sending to the kids, huh? Sorry kids, we trust you about as far as we could throw you, and now that you're teenagers, that's not very far.
I'm not burying my head in the sand here. I'm aware that there are 13-year-olds who are smoking pot (or worse). But they're still -- fortunately -- in the minority in this country. And the best way to deal with them is good parenting, not the creation of a police state.
Kids need to feel trusted. They need to be encouraged to take risks, to step outside of their comfort zone, to engage in extracurricular activities (which, I might add, are great for their college applications) without feeling like they're getting a big fat target on their backs for it.
And lest you say, "Well, if they're not doing anything wrong, why would they worry?" I'd advise you to recall your early teen years. They were tough, weren't they? Your relationship with authority was tenuous?
I can't help but recall a time when I was around 12 or 13 and taken to the local hospital for some X-rays. The tech was just doing his job when he asked if I could be pregnant. But here I was, an innocent 13-year-old girl who quite obviously had never had sex before. I was traumatized. I felt dirty, as if he saw something in me that marked me as "that type of girl."
It's not rational, but it falls in line with how kids think. Tell them they're mandated to take a drug test, and you've just told a kid you see them as guilty of doing drugs.
Sadly, that distrust works both ways. Tell a kid you don't trust them, especially when they've given you no reason to do so, and you've given them reason to distrust you. Now you have a real problem on your hands; you've got a teen who doesn't trust you and all the issues of the teen years ahead.
So let me ask again: would you let your 13-year-old be drug tested just so she can participate in after-school volleyball?
What do you think of this drug testing plan? Would you allow your child to be tested?
Image via Creativity103/Flickr