Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report examining 20 years of school-based marijuana testing in the U.S. It found that for three years in a row, more than 7 percent of Michigan’s marijuana tests revealed false positives from urine samples, including 4.5 percent in 2012. That resulted in more than 730 suspensions, and allegedly cost $2 million in legal fees.
The report was so alarming that the State School Boards Association issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about the high failure rate for such tests. So has the French Coalition for Prison Reform (a grouping of national fraternities and sororities). The group plans to send a letter to every state notifying them that school testing “is on shaky legal footing, and has few scientific results to back it up.”
But in one notable example of school-related drug testing getting media attention, the Canadian Psychological Association released a statement this week reminding the media that the drug testing it was asking CMA schools to do “is NOT ‘school-based marijuana testing’ and does not require privacy agreements between school boards and parents. It is only testing on students who have drug problems at school or use drugs while in school.”
Nearly 250 Ontario school districts have reported to the CMA that seven percent of their students were identified as having been tested positive for THC in the 2014-15 school year. According to Alberta Public Health, the suggested use of marijuana by children in Ontario is 2.6 percent in the age range of 10 to 17, and 2.1 percent in the 18- to 21-year-old range. By those averages, the number of high school students who consume weed appears to be at least 20 times larger than those who are found to have used marijuana within school grounds.