Briones assures confidentiality of drug test results

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

October 7, 2017, 7:39 am

MANILA -- Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones reiterated that the identity of students who would undergo random drug testing would be protected.

Briones reiterated this during the National Teachers' Day and World Teachers' Day observance on Thursday in Legazpi City, Albay.

She earlier highlighted that the random drug test does not aim to put the students in shame.  

The records will be kept secret, according to her, adding that this will not be a basis to kick out a student from school. 

Earlier, DepEd targeted September to October to begin the random drug testing among high school students and teachers.  

As of October 6, however, it has not yet been implemented.

Briones said DepEd employees, including herself, will also undergo the drug test.

On random drug testing

, the Education chief said this is not the first time DepEd had conducted random drug testing.  

However, the previous one was done on a limited scale.

"We have announced this last year, and you must be wondering why it took so long," Briones said in a previous press conference at the DepEd central office.

She explained that it took some time to develop the sampling scheme, and DepEd had worked with experts to develop it.

"We have to decide on the size of the sample. We consulted statisticians outside of DepEd," she said.

The tests and analysis will be done by the Department of Health (DOH), while DepEd will cover all the costs, which Briones estimates to be around PHP39-40 million.

"This will be a worthwhile investment of the agency," she emphasized.

DepEd will inform the parents before conducting the tests, as there has to be an authorization.

The tests will be done outside the schools' premises.  

To protect the students and the schools, Briones said DepEd will not reveal the schools which will undergo testing.

Those who will test positive will undergo a confirmatory test.

Meanwhile, Briones also cited that DepEd has been receiving "really large calls" for drug testing.

"We hear stories. We need to determine the prevalence of drug use in schools," she said, adding that the agency also thinks about the welfare of teachers and staff.

She continued, "There's only one way to find out (the answer), (and that is through) drug tests." (PNA