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School Drug Testing

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It seems that my old high school has turned into a drug user's playground. At least that's what I'm supposed to believe reading my local newspaper. Drug use is up and parents apparently don't care, according to surveys. Quoting from the article: "...surveys indicated LSHS students felt adults in the community were apathetic to drug and alcohol abuse." Either the parents don't care about this issue or the parents don't perceive drug use as a serious problem. Did anyone bother to ask them WHY they don't care? May be there really is no serious problem and the school district is making mountains out of mole hills. Or, may be there is a problem, and the parents really don't care. I think this also needs to be looked at. After all, what good will it do to test kids for drugs if the kid's parents won't back the schools in enforcing a drug-free environment?

But, this is not what brings me to the keyboard. My concern is that the motivation behind this high school drug testing program is money. You see, there's federal grant money to be had if the school district will just follow a certain set of steps (.pdf). And all it will cost you is the privacy of your child. But, hey, that's ok. According to one high school student who wrote a letter to his local paper giving his support for a drug testing program...

As a member of a new generation who embraces accountability rather than the gross indulgences of personal freedoms that previous generations have embraced, I would urge you as a reader of this paper to lend your support for a safer and stronger school community by becoming a vocal advocate for random drug testing.

Entire Report in PDF format (522 kb)In other words, he's saying that the needs of the many always outweighs the needs of the few--or the one. Your individual right to privacy be damned! It's more important to give the whole of society a superficial sense of security regardless of what you, as an individual, want. But, it's not all bad news. This program has an opt out feature. That's good news for those of you who can't stomach giving up your right to privacy. Quoting from the What You Need To Know About Starting A Student Drug-Testing Program pamphlet provided by The Office of the National Drug Control Policy: student will be forced to submit to a drug test. Although children whose parents refuse to give their consent may lose the privilege of taking part in extracurricular activities, parents must always have the ability to opt out of the drugtesting program.

You can choose to opt out, but you'll risk ostracizing your child from the rest of the student body because they won't be allowed by the school district to participate in any program deemed to be an "extracurricular activity." This program is designed to force your compliance through the threat of public humiliation. Why don't they just force non-participants to wear a something similar to scarlet letter or the Star of David?

In closing, I suppose the best solution would be to send your children to a private school where they can be shielded from government's constant meddling. One aspect of this program that I find repulsive is that it will get children used to intrusive and unwarranted searches into their private affairs by their government. Once our children accept this as common practice, our freedoms will fall quickly.


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