Huron County's drug problem must be fixed.
People like Stephanie Broz deserve our thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront of our public debate. We have no doubt that as a result of her and others' efforts, the way the Norwalk schools address the issue of drug abuse is about to improve substantially.
The investigation of random drug testing has proved extremely illuminating. It has shown that the high school hasn't done much to prevent drug abuse and the schools are discussing options to address that deficiency as we speak.
Teenagers don't know what's happening outside their own little worlds. All they know is what their parents, their teachers, and their friends tell them. Their only other sources of information are MTV and YouTube.
It helps kids when an adult, most importantly a parent, takes on the responsibility of being a role model and mentor and, sometimes, the bad guy for a young person.
Tonight, the school board will vote on another option on the table, drug testing, which is a different kettle of fish all together.
For every study that says it doesn't work, there's another that says it does.
But all studies are not created equal. The primary study that questions drug testing is rigorous, extensive, and from an excellent institution, the University of Michigan. It surveyed nearly 200,000 students. In comparison, the most prominent study supporting drug testing which surveyed 56 principals on their opinions is laughable in comparison. The Reflector interviewed several local principals and athletic directors whose schools drug test. They all believe it works. None can give any actual evidence to support that belief.
There are case studies that say drug testing works. But where drug testing has been effective it has been coupled with an educational program which should include educators taking a personal interest in their students, not just reading a lesson plan. So who's to say which caused the improvement?
But even if the test doesn't work, by and large, it's worth any amount of money if it helps even one student, right?
That may be true, but what about the other student?
Kids may be stupid, but they aren't stupid. The test only works for so long. For marijuana, it works for a month. For inhalants well, there is no test for inhalants.
We all hope that as some student is being passed a joint, he says, "No, I can't, I don't want to get caught." What happens when the other kid says, "Oh, then why don't you just inhale this paint thinner for a while?"
If the test costs even one student his life that's a price we are just unwilling to pay.