PUBLIC school teachers and personnel will be subjected to surprise drug tests.
The Department of Education (DepEd), together with Cebu City Hall started implementing the random drug testing of teachers of public elementary and high schools in the city yesterday.
The first school randomly picked was the Regino Mercado Elementary School and Regino Mercado Night High School in Barangay Pahina Central yesterday.
According to Garry Lao, head of the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap), 41 teachers and three non-teaching personnel underwent the drug test at the elementary school yesterday morning.
Another 17 teachers and two non-teaching personnel of the night high school were also tested yesterday afternoon.
“We are just facilitating the request of the DepEd. As to the sanctions, we will leave it up to them because this is theirs. We will not release the results. We will leave it up to DepEd to release the results,” he said.
Records of the DepEd Cebu City Schools Division show that there are around 6,000 teachers in the 126 public schools in the city – 69 elementary schools and 57 high schools.
DepEd Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Bianito Dagatan said the drug test is part of their drug education program in coordination with the city government.
“Those found positive will undergo confirmatory tests. The guidelines set by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) will be followed strictly like determination of the levels of use, rehab, etc.” he said.
Based on CSC guidelines, teaching and non-teaching staff who will be found positive of illegal drugs use will have 15 days to challenge the results and undergo drug testing in another laboratory. Otherwise, the results will be used to classify the level of the drug user.
Level 1 users are those who just started using drugs; level 2 users are those engage in irregular drug use while level 3 are frequent drug users.
Level 1 and 2 users will undergo counseling and regular drug testing while level 3 users will undergo six months of rehabilitation.
All expenses will be paid by the user who will also have to secure clearance after completing the requirements. Those found still positive within the corrective period will be dismissed from service.
Lao said the choice of the school yesterday was completely random. He said they first met with DepEd officials in their office yesterday morning where they randomly picked the school to be tested and immediately followed with the actual testing.
“We will do it every day starting today (yesterday). We will do it in two schools per day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon,” he said.
During yesterday’s drug testing, Lao said they also visited some classrooms in the school where they did a short information dissemination with the students and explained to them the ill-effects of using illegal drugs.
Principals, assistant school principals, supervisors and district supervisors from each school were already subjected to the drug testing last July.
Drug testing is mandated under DepEd Order No. 37 series of 2017 or the DepEd Drug-Free Workplace Policy which was promulgated last July 31.