MY TURN By Dorothy LeFebvre

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:04

    Let’s stop the accusations Even though mandatory suspicionless random drug testing was passed for Vernon High School over three months ago, there still seems to be a movement to perpetuate myths about the policy and those who oppose it. Many use these myths as justification to openly accuse strangers of being ignorant, stupid, bad parents or druggies, simply because they do not agree with the policy. I would like to address some of these myths. Myth: Only a few Vernon parents are against random drug testing (RDT). Fact: Many parents and almost all the students who attended the Board of Education hearings in the fall shared concerns about RDT. Myth: Most kids who try marijuana become drug abusers or addicts. Fact: Most do not. Any use of drugs is illegal and unacceptable, but the risk of drug abuse is not equally distributed among children. The amount of risk is dependent on many factors, some of which are: genetics, psychological issues, depression, temperament and lack of parental involvement. Myth: Parents are ignorant or in denial about the existence of drugs in Vernon. Fact: There are very few parents that fall into this category. Not one person at the hearings ever suggested that drugs were not a problem. Some did mention the proven fact that kids in activities have a lower risk of getting seriously involved with drugs, but no one ever said that they thought the risk was zero for any group of students. Myth: Drug testing saves lives. Fact: Most scientists, experts and professional organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Education Association oppose drug testing because there is no evidence that it is effective and can or will “save a life.” There is also no proof that it is safe and will not create unintended, but harmful, consequences. Keeping our children safe and drug-free is a challenge we must face rationally, not emotionally; with hopefulness, not despair; and with confidence, not helplessness. Will random drug testing save even one life? The experts say it won’t. Will suspicionless drug testing help our children develop into confident, productive, drug-free adults? I don’t think so — I believe it will actually hinder that process. However, since the policy has been passed, it is pointless to debate the issue again, but, for the record, I’ve based my conclusions on research and facts - and believe it or not, I do not use drugs. Dorothy LeFebvre is the parent of a Vernon high school student.