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Bill requiring drug tests from prospective teachers and school workers advances

By the Notebook on Dec 11, 2013 07:38 PM

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

A bill calling for drug testing of prospective teachers and school employees in Pennsylvania has passed in the state House.

If passed by the state Senate, it would affect all candidates offered positions by traditional district schools, charter schools and cyber charter schools. Applicants would be barred from employment if the screening revealed the presence of illegal drugs.

"We introduced this piece of legislation mainly to protect our children and solve problems before [drug users] get into the system," said State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny), who sponsored the legislation.

DeLuca said he didn't have data on the pervasiveness of drug use among educators, but said "numerous" anecdotal reports motivated him to introduce the legislation four years ago. He referred to a recent example in which a 26-year-old substitute art teacher in Pittsburgh admitted to using heroin before passing out in front of his high school class.

"We've got to make sure when our children go to school, they're taught by individuals who are alert and free of drugs," DeLuca said.

A 2007 study by federal Department of Health and Human Services found that 4 percent of employees working in education reported illicit drug use. The average for all professions was 11 percent.

The same study found that, among the nation's full-time workers, 47 million (or 42.9 percent) reported that they submitted to drug-screening tests during the hiring process.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (7)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2013 1:52 am
As if school districts are not faced with enough unfunded mandates already... If the state is willing to pay for this let it happen; but this is something school districts cannot afford to pay for given the current funding levels for education in PA. I understand the reasoning for politicians wanting this as it paints a nice picture of the legislature protecting kids; but when only 4% of teachers admit to it while that number is nearly triple in ALL professions this does not seem necessary.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2013 2:20 am
Maybe they also should drug test prospective students too.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2013 2:32 am
Maybe they also should drug test prospective students too.
Submitted by please (not verified) on December 12, 2013 5:49 am
This is what Harrisburg spends its time on.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2013 6:57 am
when they drug test the students (and parents) who sit in our classrooms and wander our school buildings each day threatening us, then they can drug test us. Oh, and let's not forget the administrators, SRC candidates and members and all those charter school operators
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2013 10:48 am
Good. Screen out the dopers. Just about any business that is hiring for a responsible position has a drug test before employment.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2013 5:04 pm
There goes what little is left of the arts in Philly Ed!!!

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