UK teachers strike over random drug testing policy

Teachers at an independent special school in the UK are on strike after one of them was asked to take a random drugs test. Eleven teachers at the Alderwasley Hall School, which is a residential centre as well as a school, took action last week.

Drug TestingTheir union, the NASUWT, says one teacher was suspended after refusing to take a test, while the union also says other members of staff have been threatened with dismissal if they were to refuse. Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It is simply unacceptable for an employer to impose a policy of drug and alcohol testing which we believe is unjustified and unlawful and attacks the professionalism of the teachers at the school. “There is no basis whatsoever for believing that dedicated and committed teachers at Alderwasley Hall School are misusing drugs or alcohol. This is simply a case of an employer abusing its position and flagrantly disregarding the rights of its employees.” The union says the school’s policy on drugs tests is unlawful under human rights legislation because it allegedly breaches a person’s right to respect for their private life, while advocates of drug testing suggest those who are clean have nothing to fear. Government guidelines say employers have to have consent from staff they want to test for drugs and that tests should be random, and it seems questionable that it’s a group of teachers that are taking this particular stance. Children are the one of the most vulnerable sectors of society, and we should be taking every precaution possible to ensure their safety. On top of that, the fact that the children at this school require special needs means that protection and support is even more of a necessity from those who care for them.  ]]>

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