Compulsory drug tests should not be implemented in schools

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2009, 12:00am

The teenage drug abuse problem has become serious.

There have been a number of news reports about youngsters selling and taking drugs in schools and at entertainment venues.

Some people have suggested the need to have compulsory drug tests in schools, however, I do not think this is a good idea.

Having compulsory tests will undermine any harmony that exists in a school environment.

Such tests will also put teachers in a difficult position.

It will force them to question their role in the school.

They will have to ask themselves wether they are educators or they are there to curb crime.

I feel that if teachers have to administer the tests, it will lead to a deterioration in the relationship between teachers and students.

Teachers will essentially become law enforcers.

As a consequence, they will have a less effective role as educators trying to persuade young people not to take drugs.

Also, having such tests in school will disrupt teaching. It will detract from the main focus of learning, which is the purpose of schools.

The whole learning process will be adversely affected.

I think there is also the problem of the labelling effect.

Schools where pupils have tested positive will acquire a reputation as bad institutions.

It will be worse than the labelling effect that presently exists between English-medium and Chinese-medium schools.

Some young people who take drugs and know they might be tested will avoid going to school on those days. They will play truant.

At least while they are still attending school they can be supervised and helped by the school authorities. However, if they stop going to school, things will get worse as there will be no supervision.

I think that compulsory tests will do more harm than good, in particular, testing will undermine the relationship between students and teachers.

Ho Chi-ho, Kwun Tong