Friday July 20, 2018

Drug test is for all teachers: Osmeña

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he wants teachers and non-teaching staff who refuse to submit themselves for drug testing to be dismissed from the Department of Education (DepEd).

This came after a teacher from Alaska Elementary School in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City refused to undergo drug testing last Tuesday, saying he was not feeling well and that his blood pressure had increased.

“There’s one teacher who did not like to undergo (the drug test). I’m letting Councilor Joy Augustus Young (deputy mayor for education) to handle that. But I don’t like him (teacher). If you don’t want to undergo, I think you should be out of the system,”  Osmeña said.

Young said he supports the mayor’s directive, saying a schools should set a good example for students.

Since Sept. 11 to 14, the City Office for Substance Abuse  and Prevention (Cosap) has been administering random drug tests in public elementary and secondary schools in the city, after DepEd issued a directive on it last July.

In its first week, Cosap has tested 251 teachers and non-teaching personnel in 12 public elementary and secondary schools in the city. All of them tested negative of illegal drugs.

Around 12 teachers and non-teaching personnel, on the other hand, were recorded as absent at the time the drug test was administered in their schools. One male teacher from Alaska Elementary School refused to take the test, citing medical reasons.

Cosap head Garry Lao said they agreed with DepEd to randomly pick the school where the drug test will be done. A committee from DepEd 7 was formed to oversee the drug test.

The schools that were picked include Regino Mercado Elementary and Night High School in Barangay Pahina Central, Alaska Elementary School and National High School, Cantipla Integrated School and Tabunan Integrated School both  in Barangay Tabunan.

Nothing to hide

Also included were Tagbao Elementary and National High School in Barangay Tagbao, Pasil Elementary and National High School in Barangay Pasil, Cambinocot Elementary and High School in Barangay Cambinocot.

As for the teacher who refused to take the drug test and the absentees, Lao said he had a meeting with DepEd Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Bianito Dagatan and agreed to conduct another surprise test for them.

This time, though, instead of a draw-by-lot, the schedule of the test will be decided by Cosap.

“The teacher who refused, according to the DepEd memorandum, is liable for grave insubordination. DepEd is still asking for an explanation, but personally, I want that teacher to be given penalty. For me, his explanation does not warrant validity. We want to send this message to all government employees that they have to submit themselves if they have nothing to hide,” Lao said.

Lao said they will suspend all drug tests in schools so that they can assess the results. (RTF)