A qualitative case study of student perceptions of a random drug testing policy

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Rathbun, Shelia E.
Patterson, Jean A.

This qualitative study involved high school students in focus groups and individual interviews who shared their perceptions of a random drug testing policy and its implementation in the fall of 2007 at their suburban high school. Student voices were captured and shared, as well as data shared regarding student responses on The Communities That Care Survey which is given yearly to all sophomores and seniors. There were strong perceptions from students regarding the implementation of random drug testing and students shared these perceptions openly and often strongly. However, students were not well-informed as to why the policy had been implemented nor about the random drug testing procedures and consequences to testing positive. Students voices were heard, but until policy makers and decision makers in schools begin working alongside students to teach students how to have a voice, students voices may remain ignored. Students were able to a coherent and effective critique regarding some of the issues; however, students lacked a clear understanding of the policy. The study used micropolitics and student voice as its theoretical framework. The study also researched random drug testing policies and practices in schools. The study also has valuable recommendations and implications for policy makers who are contemplating instituting any new policies that affects those at the bottom of the hierarchy in schools, the students.

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Dissertation (Ed.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Educational Leadership