Drug test on Grade 4 pupils has 'very serious' human rights implications - DepEd chief


Posted at Jun 29 2018 12:58 PM

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MANILA - The proposed drug testing on students as young as 10 years old would have human rights implications and would affect the children in the long run, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Friday.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency last week said it will push for mandatory drug testing among teachers and students in grade 4 and up, but Briones said the Dangerous Drugs Act imposed this only on students from the high school level upwards.

President Rodrigo Duterte also had clear instructions for "a much improved curriculum, all other techniques and technologies of sharing knowledge with the children; but not drug testing."

Briones said the department is taking "preventive" measures to stop the prevalence of drugs among the 14 million children under its care.

Testing everyone would also be an "administrative nightmare," she said.

"The human rights implications are very serious, the confidentiality implication is very serious if you subject millions of children in this kind of test," she said.

"We want to protect the identities of the children. It's not a basis for expulsion, for grades. It's not even put on the record of a child," she added.

If there are findings of alleged drug links, the solution would not be to put it on record but to treat the child and protect his privacy, said Briones.