THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 has authorized local government units (LGUs) to conduct drug testing on all public school teachers.

DepEd 7 Director Juliet Jeruta said she issued Regional Memorandum No. 355 in response to calls from LGUs to test public school teachers following the arrest of an assistant principal, who was caught in the middle of a pot session last month in Badian town.

Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Commission (CPADAC) Executive Director Joey Herrera welcomed the memorandum.

Jona Kie Nadera, a public school teacher in Punta Princesa Night High School, also welcomed the development, saying that drug testing of teachers will strengthen the parents' trust in school educators.

Herrera said that drug testing for teachers may start within the year.

The Capitol will pay for the drug screening test this year as CPADAC appropriated P300,000 for this.

The appropriation still has a balance of P100,000 following several Capitol-initiated screening tests in the different municipalities.

Herrera said that the Department of Health 7 also pledged to provide CPADAC with drug screening kits.

Guidelines

CPADAC will soon meet with DepEd officials to craft guidelines on how to conduct the drug test.

“We will choose an area where we can conduct the drug test that will make it impossible for anyone to flee,” said Herrera.

CPADAC will also choose which school should first undergo the screening, based on reports authorities received about illegal drug activities.

Jeruta also said that the June 19 memorandum is also in compliance with a Civil Service Commission circular that mandates all government offices to be drug-free.

Jeruta explained that drug testing should not only be conducted during employment, but should also be a requirement for employment.

Private schools are also urged to conduct a drug test among its pool of teachers.

Based on the order, any education official or employee found positive of illegal drug use shall be subjected to disciplinary and administrative proceedings, which might lead to dismissal.

The employee may also be charged with violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Jeruta though said that public school teachers cannot be forced to take the test. But they must be able to explain their refusal.