Screening for Drugs in Teacher Hiring

The Northwest Herald had an interesting article by Kevin Craver and Jillian Duchnowski on how few school districts in McHenry County require new teachers to pass a drug test.

Since Huntley School District 158 is now in negotiations with teachers, I wonder if its board will raise the issue

You know, to protect the students.

Chances are recreational drug users are inclined to pass along their values to students.

One might think it would have been in the Huntley School Board’s initial proposal?

Shawn Green, the board’s president, is a police office.

Of course, to be consistent, the provision probably should be applied to all new staff, whether certified or not.

And, probably, current staff periodically.

When I served on the Prison Reform Committee, constituents could never understand how drugs could get into a place in which the state controlled all access.

It was obvious the drugs came in with

  • visitors,
  • vendors or
  • employees.

When we legislators asked that the employees be tested, their AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) union leaders went ballistic.

In the next union negotiation, we got random testing for 20% of the employees each year, I think.

Not good enough, but it so angered prison guard leaders that in 2002 when I ran for governor as a Libertarian, one told me what he thought of me and my advocacy of the program in Rockford outside of the first gubernatorial debate.

That’s the debate I stood outside on the sidewalk with a guy wearing a two-headed chicken suit representing Jim Ryan and Rod Blagojevich’s refusal to debate me.

I guess the union leader’s anger flowed from my having analyzed the drug use by inmates and employees and finding that a higher percentage of employees tested positive for drugs in many prisons, especially the maximum ones, than did the inmates.

Actually, it wasn’t the analysis.

It was the newspaper articles all over the state while salary negotiations were going on.

I wonder if the Huntley Education Association would react similarly to a drug testing proposal.

And, if the teachers are tested, shouldn’t the rule apply to administrators and other employees, too?

District 158 pays for some of its top officials to get annual physicals. What are odds that this also includes drug testing?

Easy enough to include in the next contract.

Maybe there should be negative testing as a requirement for receiving tenure.

One might think community members would appreciate such an attempt to screen out illegal drug users or illegal drug addicts.

Is Huntley of the school districts with a Zero Tolerance policy?

For any school board that applies a Zero Tolerance policy only to students, the word “hypocrisy” comes to mind.

In Huntley employee drug testing is not unprecedented. Bus drivers have to pass a drug test. That’s state law.

Craver’s article says only Fox River Grove District 3, Alden-Hebron District 19, and Carpentersville District 300 screen new certified staff for drugs. In District 300, prospective employees even have to pay for the test.

Sounds like a good management practice that should be copied by other school districts.

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