Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Friday, December 3, 2010

A little excessive?

First, let me start this post by saying that I don't mean to start any fights or rifts or anything. I think I'm probably the most apolitical person around. I wish there were a political ideology that I felt truly represented me and what I want from my life. There's not, so I try to stay out of the fray as much as possible. Every once in a while, though, something happens and it pushes my buttons.

Second, I will finish the "starting this off" by telling you that it got to be way longer than what I had intended. I apologize for my poor editing. Concise writing is always better and more compelling, and I definitely am lacking the concise today.

Recently, I told you about how I received an offer to become a substitute teacher. I was excited for the opportunity, and frankly, while Mister and I aren't starving, the money wouldn't hurt. So as soon as the HR department sent me the paperwork, I started reading through it and getting ready to fill it out. Since then, though, I've been really conflicted about if I want to fill out the paperwork and apply for this job at all.

This town, in order to qualify someone to become a substitute teacher (an at-will, per diem, $10/hour job, mind you) the applicant must take a drug test. Honestly, I'm insulted and offended. It sounds silly, but I just think it's too much. And I really do not want to take a drug test.

This school district is one of the best in Connecticut. They certainly have their pick of anyone to hire. I sincerely doubt that drug addicts are applying for jobs here. This is an unnecessary and excessive show of force. "If you really want a job, just take the drug test..."

It bothers me that simply by objecting to the drug test, I arouse suspicion about myself. Which is crap. They also require fingerprints and police clearances. So basically, if I had had a problem with substance use at any point in my life, it would probably by now be a matter of public record. Instead, my public record is a blank sheet of paper.

My public record consists of very little contact with law enforcement. In my driving life, I've been involved in 2 accidents, neither of which was my fault. I've never even been pulled over for speeding!

In Connecticut, in order to pass our home study, we had to submit police clearances for every town and state we've lived in for the last 5 years. That was pretty easy, we've only lived in 2 towns in 2 states in the last 8 years. Then we had to do FBI background checks. I never had to pee in a cup though. What's up with that? In order to be a substitute teacher and earn $10/hour, I have to pee in a cup at the skeevy hospital? But to have a baby, the state has no such requirement. In fact, I've worked in 7 school districts in my life, and none has required a drug test.

Here I am, 34 years old, with a teaching certificate and a master's degree, with a completed and approved home study to adopt a baby, and I have to take a drug test to become a substitute teacher. I've never been convicted of a crime, in fact, I've never been arrested. In my life, I've never touched an illegal substance. I wouldn't even know how/where to find one if I wanted to. I barely touch legal substances. (Pespi withdrawal going poorly, btw. Hence the mood to get annoyed by miniscule things, I suppose.) I pay my bills, I pay taxes (as married renters with no kids, let me tell you, we pay a $#!@ lot of taxes.) I have always done the right thing and made the responsible decisions in my life. When will I reap those rewards for always being responsible and doing the right things? Not this year, apparently. Because if I want a job, I will need to take a drug test at their hospital of choice, which happens to be a hospital I'd never enter of my own volition.

I don't know. I just think it's too much to ask. But really, what's my option?

I could suck it up, take the drug test and start cashing (tiny, $10/hr) paychecks.
I could suck it up, take the drug test, and let the district know that I'm offended and insulted by even the suggestion that I take illegal substances. Which I really am.
I could say nothing and not return any paperwork and not work.
I could not return the paperwork and not work and tell them that I won't be taking a drug test unless they have a reasonable suspicion to ask me to take a drug test. Which of course means they won't hire me because even my saying that makes me look like an addict.

I feel like it's important to tell them that I'm thinking of this and that I have a problem with drug testing without any reasonable suspicion. But saying that I have a problem with their policy sets me apart as a trouble-maker and possibly a user of illegal drugs. Which I'm not. Not a trouble-maker and not a user.

It upsets me that in my whole life, I've never done a suspicious thing. I've never committed a crime. I've never taken an illegal drug. Yet because I'm applying for a job I'm suspect. I'm lumped in with criminals and addicts because I'm applying for a job. And not a job to operate heavy machinery, or be trusted with state secrets. A substitute teacher job.

So I'm tempted to write them a letter and tell them that I'm happy to be a substitute, and I'm happy to take a drug test if they can give me any reason at all, (excessive absences, tardiness, physical symptoms of drug use, whatever) that I should be suspected of drug use. Unless and until they can do that, I'm not taking a drug test.

But then I think it would be nice to teach again, even if they will only pay me $10/hr. And I'd happily cash those $10/hr checks. And I'm an easy-going person who just wants to go through life and not make trouble or get up in people's faces about things.

But on the other hand, it just seems so excessive. They could probably determine what they need to know from public record. And then no one would have to examine my bodily fluids.

I just never knew I felt so strongly about this, and I really don't know what I want to do. I've been thinking about it for almost a month now and it's not any clearer.


  1. I understand what you're saying, but I don't think it's about's about anyone else who could be subbing. I can tell you though that one thing that makes me go through the roof is talking about mandatory, random drug testing for employed teachers. I think a state enacted just that.

  2. totally excessive, but i feel like you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, you know? i know it stinks and i know that in some ways the district is abusing its power, but unfortunately, it's also a sad state our society is in where there *are* teachers that abuse substances. there was actually a teacher in our district two years ago that was arrested for DEALING drugs. oy!

    on another note, $10?! that's ridiculous!!! i think our county pays $13 something...wanna move down here? i could get you an interview! heehee ;)

  3. I wouldn't take it personally that they are having you take a drug test. For every job I have ever had I have had to do that.

    I hope you will not let this policy stop you from going after the job you want.