Random drugs tests could wreck careers of teachers
NOBODY has ever seriously suggested, either in Derbyshire or anywhere else in the UK, that drugged-up teachers are a cause for concern.
So, apart from that small minority who seem to hold the teaching profession in disdain and blame them for most of the nation's social ills, there ought to be general satisfaction that a suspension has apparently been lifted on a Derbyshire teacher who refused to take a random drugs test.
Teachers at Alderwasley Hall School went on strike for three days this week after their colleague was suspended.
That action has now ended because, claims the National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, the school's owner has relented and lifted that disciplinary sanction.
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Not that the owner, Derby-based company Senad, has confirmed this is the state of play. It is refusing to comment on the whole messy saga.
It was plainly satisfied that it was acting within its rights as an employer in demanding members of staff should undertake drugs tests.
The union, however, maintains it is an unacceptable invasion of privacy – and it is easy to sympathise with that.
Summoning a teacher from in front of a class and asking him or her to take a drugs test does seem an extraordinarily heavy-handed approach if a random sample has to be obtained.
How ignominious would that be for the teacher concerned, particularly if an all-clear ensued?
"No smoke without fire" would certainly still be the rumour among pupils and parents. A career could be tainted or ruined.
If the owner, governor or head teacher of any school has concerns about the fitness of a teacher to carry out the job, there are surely adequate avenues in place for that to be explored without going down this road.
Yes, teachers should be expected to set a good example to impressionable pupils.
But so are members of lots of other areas of our society.
If it is acceptable to make them take a random drugs test, then how about taking similar action against Members of Parliament, for example?
The vision of the Education Secretary being tapped on the shoulder while addressing the House of Commons, and asked to provide a breath or urine sample, is an irresistible one.