Targeting the wrong group

The school board of St. Sabina Catholic Parish set a disturbing precedent last week when it approved a drug testing policy for its 500 students.

The drug testing is necessarily not the disturbing part. The problem lies in the fact that St. Sabina is not a high school or even a junior high school, where drug use regrettably grows more prevalent. St. Sabina is an elementary school.

The policy mandates the testing of 20 students, selected by lottery, each quarter. Students in kindergarten to eighth grade will be tested for drugs. A majority of the students’ parents said they approve of the drug testing.

Calling the policy a reaction to “a crisis state,” the parish pastor said students testing positive would be helped to begin counseling and treatment. “Children of all ages are being brought into the drug crisis,” he said.

And what better way to peak students’ interest in drugs at an early age than to test them for drugs they most likely are not taking? The drug testing policy might only make the relatively mild situation at St. Sabina worse by drawing young students’ attention to drugs.

The drug problem undoubtably is much worse at public high schools and colleges, so if there must be tests, start there. Kindergarten students who haven’t yet learned to tie their shoes cannot be expected to deal with the more complex issue of drugs and punishment.