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Gatchalian backs DepEd vs mandatory drug testing of students

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Senator Win Gatchalian on Sunday rallied behind the Department of Education’s (DepEd) position in opposing the mandatory drug testing of elementary and high school students, citing its lack of any legal basis.

“I join the DepEd in opposing the PDEA proposal. First of all, PDEA has not provided any concrete evidence to show that such a mandatory testing regime is necessary. A severe and heavy-handed policy like this should first undergo careful study by experts, and consultation with all stakeholders, especially parents and students,” he said.

“Second, there is no legal basis for conducting random drug tests on elementary students. Section 36(c) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165) only authorizes drug testing for secondary and tertiary students,” the senator added.

Gatchalian pointed out that the DepEd already has sufficient drug prevention programs in place.

“Subjecting elementary students to random drug tests would create an atmosphere of confusion, discomfort, and fear that would stunt their emotional and psychological development. Instead, we should focus on making our schools safe and nurturing environments for learning and growth, where students will be given the protection and guidance they need to keep them away from drugs,” the senator said.