Editor's note: The following is an open letter to the Juneau School Board dated May 5, 2009.
We see there is a movement to require drug testing for high school students involved in sports and student activities. We think this is a good idea for all the reasons cited by Bill Chalmers in the May 10 Juneau Empire article.
We would like to encourage you to adopt a drug-testing policy for sports and activities, and students enrolled in elective Career and Technical Education lab classes.
Two reasons to require drug testing for elective CTE lab classes are safety of students and the need to uphold industry standards.
The equipment and tools used in the auto, chef, welding and woodworking classes have the potential to permanently and seriously injure students. When a student is under the influence of a mind-altering substance, the likelihood of a serious accident to that student or an innocent bystander is dramatically increased. A student who was under the influence the night before a lab class is more of a safety risk as well.
Also, the school district takes great pride in aligning our technical education classes to state and national industry standards. All of the union jobs, large industry jobs, and many of the small businesses throughout the state and nation require drug testing as a condition of employment.
The intent of a school district policy requiring drug testing for elective lab classes would be to provide a safe work environment that matches the world of work outside of school. Beyond this goal, it is our job to assist students in need of treatment and to help them receive the necessary treatment to live a healthier lifestyle.
Craig Mapes, Colin Dukes, Andy Bullick, Steve Squires and Carol Shurson
JDHS CTE lab teachers