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Region school officials — and teachers themselves — should keep an open mind to the idea of requiring teachers to submit to random drug tests.

Many private companies — particularly those with employees who work in dangerous areas or are responsible for the safety or well-being of others — use drug testing both before hiring personnel and randomly of existing employees.

The recent arrest of Lake Central High School teacher Samantha Cox — after allegedly being recorded using illegal narcotics at the school — shows it may be time for such a policy.

Lake Central schools already has a drug-testing policy for some students and bus drivers.

Each day, school teachers are entrusted with molding and shaping the minds of our most valuable and potentially vulnerable resources — our children.

In the time that children are in their classrooms, teachers also are responsible for the safety and well-being of our youth.

It seems both logical and reasonable that school districts would incorporate all possible manner of protections for our children, and requiring random drug tests of teachers is a step in that direction.

Some will balk at this idea as an overreaction.

After all, as Lake Central schools Superintendent Larry Veracco points out, reports of such behavior among teachers isn't commonplace.

"This is the first incident I know of since I've been working here, but I do think (teacher drug testing) is worth discussing," he said recently.

Lake Central currently pays $40 each for a five-panel urine test for students involved in extracurricular activities or who drive to school, Veracco said.

Bus drivers are tested before employment and randomly thereafter, at a cost of $60 per test, he said.

Surely there is a way to include teachers in this testing mix.

The cost is outweighed by peace of mind for parents and enhancement of well being for students.

You can't put a price on either of those important factors.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.