Drug testing policies are becoming increasingly common in schools around the country, yet parents are less aware of the practice, or more important, the possible ramifications of the process, more than ever. The parents of a Lincoln Nebraska high school student learned the hard way this week that school involvement reaches further than PTA meetings and school conferences. I have no doubt that attending any meetings arranged by these organizations during the course of the school year would have informed them of the random drug testing policy enforced upon their daughter without consent, and I’m pretty sure one of those meeting held a vote to put the policy in effect. Hind sight is indeed a bitch, so I am here to give you parents a little foresight.
Public school policy is not what it used to be. Educational institutions are not only juggling the politics of educating your child, but they also have to implement policy to help police and parent children who lack active parental involvement in school and at home. We live in a society that believes schools are designed to not only educate, but parent their child for 8 hours a day. As a result, they are doing just that. Only public school parenting is a lot like public safety enforcement. So now the question is, “Who do you want to discipline your child for experimenting with drugs?” This particular case is interesting in the fact that the child was caught in the middle of a two month investigation in the illegal sale of Adderall. Not quiet an illegal drug, but the child was caught using illegal means of obtaining the drug without a prescription, and this act gave the school the authority to drug test the child on the spot without the student or the parents’ consent. So far all reports have shown the school to be completely within confines of the law, however my gut tells me there’s at least one HIPAA violation in the ordeal. But this is not for me to decide, it is up to a court of law, which is where these parents are heading next.
So here’s my suggestion: Teach your children their Miranda Rights.
1. You have the right to remain silent.
Tell your children that do not have to say anything more than, “Call my parents. I reserve my right to remain silent until they arrive.”
2. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law.
Let them know that ANYTHING they say or do can get them into further trouble, this includes submitting hair samples, swabs, urine, ect.
3. You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning.
Even if you can’t afford an attorney, you can act as representation for your child.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge if you wish.
If charges are pressed, encourage your child to say nothing until you have spoken to an appointed attorney. Remember, the law is quick to catch up the innocent, and you don’t want to be on that side of the law.
This is not an effort to teach them how to get out of trouble. This is an effort to encourage you to know your rights, and teach them to your children. It is not acceptable for them to defy authority but at the same time, they need to know when authority is being abused. Raise Em Aware, Raise Em Real.