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Ohio middle school has mandatory drug testing for all student "sport" activities. Some claim it is unconstitutional. Thoughts?

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(ABC NEWS) -- It takes more than a quick serve to make the girls' volleyball team at Pleasant Middle School in Marion, Ohio. Before becoming a Lady Spartan, each 12- to 13-year-old must first pass a test they all say is a little embarrassing -- a mandatory drug test.

"It's disgusting," said Alexis Klaiber, one of the volleyball players.

"They tell you to go to the restroom and you come out with a cup and it's just really awkward because other people are standing there," Cammy Creeger said. "You had to walk out and sometimes the guys were there."

Drug testing is mandatory at Pleasant Middle School for any student involved in extracurricular activities. Principal Lane Warner said the school tests for "common street drugs" and alcohol at random, and will pull students out of class for drug testing.

Many students said the process is nerve-wrecking.

"He just called your name so you get so scared you're in trouble," said Brooke Flickinger. "So you start freaking out, it's something else, 'OK what have I done that I could get in trouble for?'"

Random drug testing, once reserved for Olympic, college and high school athletes, has become a fact of life for hundreds of kids in their early teens, even pre-teen years, in the United States. Today, school districts in at least nine states require middle school students to undergo drug tests.

Some Lady Spartans at Pleasant Middle School said they thought the drug testing was a good thing.

"I think it's helping to stop [drug use]," Creeger said.

"Because they know they are not going to be eligible for sports," Flickinger said.

But when Alexis Kiederer tried to join her middle school scrapbooking club in Milford, Pa., where drug tests are required for students who want to participate in extracurricular activities, her parents pushed back. They would not give permission for their daughters to take the drug tests, which meant she also couldn't play school sports.

"That was difficult because I wasn't able to play with some of the girls I've been playing with for years, and to be able to make new friendships, gain more experience," Alexis said.

Alexis and her younger sister Meghan were forced to sit out all after-school activities at Delaware Valley Middle School, while their parents took school officials to court. The girls' mother, Kathy Kiederer, said it was worth taking a stand, even if it meant her daughters couldn't participate in the clubs and sports they loved.

"I get that it's easy to pee in a cup, but giving up your constitutional rights just because you can doesn't mean you should," Kiederer said.

Back at Pleasant Middle School, Principal Warner said he believes the mandatory drug testing rule gives students a strong reason to refuse drugs and alcohol under peer pressure. But the bigger concern, he said, is the stories he said he has heard about what some kids are bringing to school.

"Little things that they hide drugs in [and] they carry around with them that look like a normal highlighter-- It was very eye-opening to see that there are so many ways out there," Warner said. "I would like to think it's not a big issue, but I think that's naïve. Kids are exposed to everything."

He said kids in his school district don't have to work hard to get drugs. 

 "Heroin is making a big comeback, it's becoming more popular," Warner said. "It's one of those things that is not extraordinarily expensive, for the user to get, it's pretty accessible."

Warner said random drug testing is working, and there has been just one positive test in six years.

But Pleasant Middle School only tests student athletes -- kids who have big incentives not to get caught.

"Does that mean that every kid is identified or kids are getting away with it? I don't think it means that, it means, in a large part, it's effective," he said. "Parents who have spoken to me about it have always been positive about it... they want to know-- 'if my kids using, I want to know about it.'"

But even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled random drug testing for high school athletes is constitutional, the Kiederers won an injunction that prevented Delaware Valley Middle School from enforcing the policy. It mean Alexis and Meghan Kiederer were allowed to play again, while the issue went to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.

"Clubs or after-school activities are normally a way for kids to not be involved in drugs," Kathy Kiederer said. "It gives them something to do after school versus going home to an empty house and maybe getting into things they shouldn't be getting into."

Kiederer argued there are better ways to teach children about drugs.

"Throwing up the barrier of having to be drug tested for it might prevent those kids from even trying out," she said.

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Woodie on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:12 AM
1 mom liked this

I never had a problem with it...if my son is playing football I really don't want him going up against other young men taking performance enhancing drugs. My kid could be seriously hurt by playing against these kinds of guys.

My daughter did choir and drama and had to do them as well. If nothing else at least I was assured that she had an activity she loved enough to stay away from drugs for!

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:36 AM

I understand that, but again, speaking from a personal perspective, at that age its effect on me personally would be to avoid the testing by avoiding the activity.  The testing would feel too invasive to me, especially as a young teen who was shy about things relating to her body.  Then I would have had lots of extra time on my hands to ... try drugs.  

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

Quoting momtoscott:

Wow.  That seems excessive.  It's going to discourage more kids from doing extracurriculars than catch drug users, I would think.  When I was in middle school, I didn't use drugs or alcohol, but I would have never wanted to take a test like this.  I would have dropped an activity at that time rather than consent to something so personally invasive.  

I don't believe it's to 'catch' drug users, but to deter it.

by Silver Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:43 AM

I know these stats.... I just didn't experience it. When I was in school the athletes were heavily into drugs. Not all of them, but a good portion. I would go to practice with my friends and then see them all at parties high as can be. 

Quoting jessilin0113:

Seems like they are testing the wrong people.  Those kids involved in extracurricular activities are statistically less likely to use drugs anyway.  

by Gina on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM
2 moms liked this

I don't believe in mandatory drug testing for anyone. Period.

Now, if someone has an accident or gives cause to be tested, then fine, test, but to assume all are guilty is simply wrong and an invasion of privacy. Generally, when someone has a problem with drugs, it isn't a secret for all that long.

by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM
1 mom liked this

Don't see a single problem with this! They are in MIDDLE SCHOOL. There shouldn't be a drug problem. But if there is, kick their asses off school teams.

by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:53 AM
2 moms liked this

 I just think it's a bad idea because in the cases where you have children that are occasionally using drugs, sports, extracurricular activities and such could be the thing that kept them from continuing to travel down a terrible path....That is, if they weren't being isolated from the others and discouraged from doing something healthy! I think it is laziness on the school's behalf.  What are they doing with the kids that are testing hot? Kicking them out of volleyball or chess club and then letting the parents deal with it?  The parents should be notified, however, I feel that as a country, surely we know that merely punishing drug abusers/addicts solves nothing, so what is this? Incarceration mentality for middleschoolers? I would think that a 14 year old that tests positive for drugs is the last kid that should be kicked out of healthy activities.

by Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM

I don't believe in a pee test.  If they want my  kid they want a drug test fine I will take him and get a hair follicle test.  But again he will never be able to play sports anyway.

by Platinum Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Why not require drug tests for all students? To single out those that participate in extra curricular activities is discriminatory. To require urine sample to join a scrapbooking club is beyond laughable. 

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

If their community has a problem with drug use, why wouldn't the parents want to ensure their child is safe? 

Oh wait...everyone thinks, "not my kid". 

by Ruby Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

 (Disclaimer: I only skimmed the article)

The local high school in my town also has mandatory drug screens for all student athletes. And there are random drug screens before all school sponsored dances. I have no problem with this. Although sadly those typcially getting high are not athletes nor are they attending school dances.  (the athletes are taking "other" drugs and or are savvy enough to avoid getting caught in a urine screen).

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