Random Indignities - Drug Testing for Everybody!

Random Indignities - Drug Testing for Everybody!
Posted by FoM on March 22, 2002 at 09:35:20 PT
By Jacob Sullum
Source: Reason Magazine
In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a drug test requirement for anyone seeking a Customs Service position in which he would have to carry a gun, handle classified material, or participate in drug interdiction. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, calling the testing program an "immolation of privacy and human dignity in symbolic opposition to drug use." Scalia noted that the Customs Service policy required people to perform "an excretory function traditionally shielded by great privacy" while a monitor stood by, listening for "the normal sounds," after which "the excretion so produced would be turned over to the Government for chemical analysis." 
He deemed this "a type of search particularly destructive of privacy and offensive to personal dignity." Six years later, Scalia considered a case involving much the same procedure, this time imposed on randomly selected public school athletes. Writing for the majority, he said "the privacy interests compromised by the process of obtaining the urine sample are in our view negligible."Not surprisingly, given its estimate of the stakes involved, the Court found that random drug testing of student athletes did not violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of "unreasonable searches and seizures." Now it seems poised to allow random testing of students who participate in any sort of competitive extracurricular activity, including debate, band, choir, cooking, and Future Farmers of America.The drug testing program at Oklahoma's Tecumseh High School, which a federal appeals court overturned last year, treats those activities the same as football, basketball, and wrestling. And under the logic the Court has been urged to accept in this case, public schools could force all students to demonstrate the purity of their bodily fluids by peeing into cups on demand."If your argument is good for this case," Justice David Souter told the Tecumseh Public School District's lawyer during oral arguments the other day, "then your argument is a fortiori good for testing everyone in school." Siding with the school district on behalf of the Bush administration, Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement agreed, arguing that random testing of all students would be constitutional.Scalia, who considered a much more limited testing program at the Customs Service an affront to privacy and human dignity, did not seem troubled by that suggestion. "What I miss in your argument," Scalia told an attorney challenging Tecumseh's drug tests, "is any recognition that you're dealing with minors."It's unlikely that Scalia thinks the average teenager is less easily embarrassed than the average customs agent. Rather, he was referring to the authority that schools traditionally have over students. The school district, he said, "is trying to train and raise these young people to be responsible adults."While teenagers in school are properly subject to special restrictions, that does not mean they have no rights, and it's hard to see how suspicionless searches prepare them to be responsible adults (or self-respecting citizens). In any case, it is emphatically not the job of government to "raise these young people." That is the job of parents, many of whom, like the parents who are challenging Tecumseh's policy, object to the seizure of their children and the search of their urine.The violation of privacy and the usurpation of parental authority are especially troubling because there is scant evidence of a serious drug problem at Tecumseh High School. Before drug testing began in 1998, there was little more than a few scattered suspicions. Since then, less than 1 percent of the students subject to urinalysis have tested positive. Even if drug abuse were rampant at Tecumseh, there is no reason to believe that testing chess players and cheerleaders would be an effective response.The Bush administration argues that a school should not have to demonstrate a problem before implementing random testing. "The government has a compelling interest in preventing the spread of this 'pervasive social problem,' " says Solicitor General Theodore Olson.But the abuse of illegal drugs can be considered "pervasive" only if it's defined very loosely. Half of high school seniors have tried marijuana, for instance, but only a small percentage of them get into serious trouble as a result.This is not because there are no hazards involved but because most teenagers who smoke pot (by far the most popular illegal drug) do so experimentally or occasionally. The unremarkable consequences of such limited use are apparent from the fact that schools generally cannot identify drug users without looking at their urine.Jacob Sullum's weekly column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. If you'd like to see it in your local newspaper, write or call the editorial page editor.Source: Reason Magazine (US)Author: Jacob SullumPublished: March 22, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Reason FoundationContact: letters reason.comWebsite: DL: Articles:Court Told Drug Tests Reasonable for Students High Court Weighs Random Drug Test Court Seems Ready to Extend Testing
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Comment #15 posted by freedom fighter on March 22, 2002 at 17:05:55 PT
Yeah, gotta pass a new law
drug testing all home schooled kids..Point is how far are we going to go? Do one High School, might as well do everyone that shows up at Post Offices or worse yet, do every dang congresscritters that crawl into the abyss of the so called "White HOUSE".Do one to a child, you might as well do to everyone that pick on their noses.Drug testings are UNCONSITUTIONAL!ff
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 22, 2002 at 16:45:29 PT
Those are two great words. Home School. 
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on March 22, 2002 at 16:32:51 PT
Home School!
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Comment #12 posted by dddd on March 22, 2002 at 14:39:11 PT
most parents.
..dont know anything about training children...a properly trained child is obediant and loyal,,but should have just enough charact er left over to retain a limited personality...yes,,children should be trained in the schools so the parents dont have to hassle with trying to force their kids to take drug tests at home!.....ya know,,if mom and dad try to force junior to take a drug test,,then junoir might kinda have a bitter memorie,,it's much simpler to do as Justice Scalia suggests,,and leave the training and drug testing up to the schools,,and the teachers,,many of whom get paid less than the janitor...dddd
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 22, 2002 at 14:08:29 PT
Animal Farm
In the book and movie Animal Farm a dog had her puppies taken away from her. They were trained and raised by them. In the end when it was all said and done she had her children back again. I'm not good at names but when I saw that part of the movie where they took her puppies for "their best interest" it reminds me of now and how parents don't have the right and the joy of raising a child without fear of some government agency saying they aren't doing it right. Life is filled with good things we do and areas where we fail and that's what gives us wisdom when we get older. We become slower to criticize and patient and remember what it was like when we were young. These wonders are being taken from parents. The right to decide and even make a few mistakes along the way.Animal Farm
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Comment #10 posted by qqqq on March 22, 2002 at 13:49:39 PT long....
..until someone tries to turn the school system over to the military?...I'll bet they probably already have some sort of ROTC for kindergarden
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on March 22, 2002 at 13:34:25 PT:
You "raise" children...
but you "train" dogs. The school district, he said, "is trying to train and raise these young people to be responsible adults."Maybe this is what Scalia meant: Pavlovian conditioning to accept the basest of demands by the State as being acceptable when they tell you to bend over, you won't think anything's out of the ordinary.Needless to say, it's the old 'tabula rasa' argumnent taken to new heights of insanity. Kids are not programmable lumps of flesh who can be made into obediant little on-demand consumerist robots. Many of them are looking at this right now (I wonder if Scalia knows what a 'browser' is...or even if he knows how to turn his computer on.) and are shaking their heads at the pomposity and narrow-minded stupidity...and sharpening their knives for later. They can do things these Nine Old Pervs In Black can't even conceive of. Have a care, Antonin; they might return the favor for you someday...when you can't do anything about it. Pray they don't come up with retroactive birth control via forced labor camps for 'surplusage' like you.
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Comment #8 posted by qqqq on March 22, 2002 at 12:26:49 PT
..Ah yes,,,a Revolt!....
...the kids decide to revolt,,,but on the day of the revolt,,the four people who inspired the revolt,,are all absent?'s rather sad,,but I'm afraid that revolts are no longer allowed....the days of the proud rebel are gone..if you want to be a rebel in todays schools,,then you best not let anyone know you are a rebel,,ya just gotta blend in and pretend you're normal.....Secret Rebel,, doesnt take long for kids nowdays to learn that free thinkers have a hard time in a Zero tolerance,,metal detector,,drug test school....plenty of vending machines on campus where the Mountain Dew flows freely at a buck a can,,,but,,dont get caught with any aspirin,,or smuggling Tylenol..(Mountain Dew has the most caffeine of all soft drinks!'s true,,way more than Coke or Pepsi
) muust be rather sobering for the youth of today,,,,being brought up seeing re-runs of COPS,,going thru DARE programs,,,,,seeing garish anti-drug commercials during Pokemon,,,,,,,,shit,,I guess that explains all the body peircings and tongue studs,,pierced eyebrows,,,scrotums and labia that jingle....Self Mutilation is the Only Form of Rebellion that One has left!!!No one gets kicked out of school for getting a tattoo and an eyebrow-nostril ring ensemble,with a chain .....
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Comment #7 posted by Dark Star on March 22, 2002 at 11:39:34 PT
Scalia: Most Unwanted
Scalia is perhaps the most dangerous man in Amerika, and one of the most hypocritical. If urine testing is so debasing and unreasonable for Customs Agents, it cannot be acceptable to children unless they are considered chattel. I hope that they revolt, and that responsible adults side with them.
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on March 22, 2002 at 11:17:40 PT
raising young children to be responsible adults
The responsibility they should undertake is to reign in the appalling behavior of those in government who are getting away with all this... (I'll refrain from using the expletives).I suggest they throw their urine in the faces of drug testers. It is the responsible thing to do.
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Comment #5 posted by goneposthole on March 22, 2002 at 10:58:01 PT
Dr. Frank Olson
Sidnet Gottlieb, Allen Dulles, and the "programmable assassin".LSD was their drug of 'choice' and no one in the Eisenhower Administration seemed to mind.Those danged ol' Republicans flip and flop about this kind of stuff all of the time.How can we treat them for failing the 'hypocrisy test'? ... 'hypocrisy screening'... can they overdose on hypocrisy? They're 'wasted' on hypocrisy. What a complete waste.Oh well, back to being an idiot in the global village.
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Comment #4 posted by krutch on March 22, 2002 at 10:48:04 PT:
This is delusional:The Bush administration argues that a school should not have to demonstrate a problem before implementing random testing. "The government has a compelling interest in preventing the spread of this 'pervasive social problem,' " says Solicitor General Theodore Olson.Then by this logic we can say:Domestic violence is a pervasive social problem. All married people should be subject to lie detector tests to make sure they have never commited any act of domestic violence.Is this constitutional? No, it assumes that all married people are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.The drug testing proposed by Oklahoma Schools is no different. The school's compelling interest in detecting about 1% of the student atheletes who take drugs does not constitute a compelling reason to violate the privacy of the other 99% of the atheletes.The U.S. Supreme Court is toosing the constitution down the toilet.
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on March 22, 2002 at 10:20:11 PT
The lawsuits and damages to come
Probably after a few years of this policy being implemented in schools, we'll see some kid's mother suing the school district for millions of dollars because some pedophile in the school system used her kid's failed drug test to coerce him or her into sex.This is just asking for trouble. Why give a bunch of people you don't know THAT much power over your child's body?We're on the verge here of institutionalizing the sexual invasion of teenagers and children. The pedophile community lurking out there is going to take that and run the distance with it.And anyone who thinks they won't has not been reading the news for the last five years.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on March 22, 2002 at 10:11:37 PT
The perverts will love this
All the perverts in the school system are probably signing up to supervise student drug testing now.This is a bizarre society.It's best not to trust people who are TOO interested in the welfare of children. They're finding that out now in those child porn investigations.
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Comment #1 posted by Jose Melendez on March 22, 2002 at 09:45:09 PT
test this!
from: now suggest those who start to smoke tobacco at an early age are almost twice as likely to drink alcohol, and 3.5 times more likely to use cannabis than those who have never smoked tobacco. 
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