"People say it's unethical, but if testing proves to be effective, we should ask ourselves whether it then becomes acceptable. If we are to have success in tackling drug abuse in Scotland, we need to be bold enough to explore initiatives that are unpopular".So said Professor Neil McKeganey, who reckons "the time had come" to consider widespread drug-testing in Scottish schools in an attempt to challenge the "culture of acceptance" of drug abuse among young people. People say it's unethical because it is unethical. And I don't know if he is, but if Prof. McKeganey is a New Labour sort of guy, he will make a virtue of 'exploring initiatives' because they are unpopular.
How, exactly, this is supposed to counter the widespread acceptance of drug-taking amongst the young, we are not told - and in the absence of an explanation, I've got a better idea. Here's an observation from the chalk-face: regardless of how mental the class is before you, in my experience its members never imagine they know more about history than you do.
Not so with drugs - or other aspects of 'personal and social education'. Though often they are not, they can be wrong about this but the necessity of professional distance means you can never disabuse them of their prior misconceptions. So why not get people in who know what they are talking about and are recognised as knowing what they're talking about? Beats the present arrangement where those who are paid for their 'pastoral care' duties do everything in their power to palm-off soc ed classes to those of us who would rather be teaching our subject and who reject the notion that it is our vocation to be the pupil's friend.