Student Privacy vs. Safety

Student Privacy vs. Safety
Posted by FoM on March 24, 2002 at 10:29:18 PT
By Elizabeth Cohen, Press & Sun-Bulletin
Source: Press & Sun Bulletin 
The Supreme Court will decide whether schools can give drug tests to students in extracurricular activities. Southern Tier administrators and students wonder whether the policy is constitutional.In addition to getting ready for graduation and college and other stresses of senior year, Melissa Heald keeps busy in the Union-Endicott High School marching band and winter guard. She also plays the flute and dances. "This year I am a drum major," said the 17-year-old, who practices several afternoons and evenings a week for her after-school activities. 
But she would give it all up, she said, if she knew there were a chance she could be required to undergo drug testing to participate in those activities. "I wouldn't do the things that I do if I knew there was a chance of being tested," Heald said. "Not because I have something to hide, but just because it would be so humiliating." In a landmark 1995 ruling, the Supreme Court said public schools could test athletes for drugs. This week, the court heard Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Lindsey Earls, a case that could extend schools' rights to administer drug tests to any student who participates in after-school activities. The case pits students' safety against the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches. A decision is expected by July. For many parents and educators, children's safety overshadows concerns for privacy rights. "Drug usage is a growing problem within our school communities," said Sandra H. Russo, president of the school board in the Susquehanna Valley Central School District, where the topic of drug tests for athletes was hotly debated in 2001. "Reflecting on the risks and dangers associated with drug use, our board had felt we had a responsibility to address this problem. The drug-testing policy was our attempt to do something we thought was proactive and would have a positive impact in deterring student drug use." With majority support, the board passed a drug-testing policy that would have cost the district between $8,000 and $10,000 a year. It required athletes to take a $17 urine test for the presence of illegal substances before the start of each season. After it met with community opposition, the policy was abandoned. In making their decision to put such a policy in place, Susquehanna Valley school board members had considered the responses of a 1999 survey that indicated that 19 percent of student athletes in Broome County had used marijuana and 10 percent had used it a few times a year or more. Russo said that while she could not speak for the school board, she has no interest in revisiting the issue again now, should the Supreme Court rule that testing students in after-school activities is constitutional. A climate of fearEducators and parents in many districts say they are concerned that mandatory random drug testing would create a climate of distrust and could discourage students who may not wish to submit to urine tests from participating in activities they enjoy. Paula Nickerson, coordinator of pupil services at Union-Endicott High School, said her daughter had been subjected to a random test at a Florida college where she is on an athletic scholarship. "She was hauled out of bed one morning to take a urine test in front of someone," Nickerson said. "She said it was very embarrassing." Nickerson said she understands colleges that give generous scholarships to athletes -- her daughter is on a soccer scholarship -- may have the right to make sure their athletes are not using illegal substances. But administering such tests in public schools, she said, is entirely different. There, she said, it would be a clear infringement of privacy rights. "To do this to mathletes, band members and the debate team would be ludicrous," Nickerson said. "I don't like the idea that a school can have that much power over your kids," said Linda Glajch, an Endicott parent. "It is too invasive and lacks cause or suspicion." Glajch said she would not want her high school-age daughter, who plays sports and participates in other activities in school, to "go to school every day thinking, 'Today they might test me.'"  The problems with testsOthers question the efficacy of such policies. "When I heard about this on Court TV, I had mixed feelings," said Diane Wheeler, principal of Chenango Forks High School. "I wasn't at all sure it would be a good thing for our school." Wheeler said she believes her school already has strong programs in place to address student drug use, like Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD. Furthermore, the school already takes a hard-line approach to the problem of drugs, running what Wheeler calls "a tight ship." "We are not narcs or vigilantes, but if we get a tip we will check a locker," Wheeler said. Establishing a drug-testing policy could be a costly, complicated and time-consuming process. "I would certainly not make a unilateral decision to endorse or implement this in my district," Wheeler said. "It would take a committee of parents, students, athletic directors, guidance counselors and teachers. It is quite an undertaking to get anything like that on board and then getting the board of education's approval, too." Eric Mihelc, 17, a Union-Endicott junior who plays baseball and football and has never been tested for drugs, said a drug-testing policy would discourage students who might benefit from after-school activities from getting involved. "A student might be using drugs and going out for a sport could help them," Mihelc said. "This would deter them from helping themselves." Right now, Mihelc said, it is up to coaches and advisers to choose students responsibly for teams and organizations. "They should know the players," he said. "They should decide what type of organizations and teams will represent the school." That system works, Mihelc said. "I don't think random drug testing would." Source: Press & Sun Bulletin (NY)Author: Elizabeth Cohen, Press & Sun-BulletinPublished: Sunday, March 24, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Press & Sun BulletinContact: presssun pronetisp.netWebsite: Articles:Stripping Student Rights Indignities - Drug Testing for Everybody! Told Drug Tests Reasonable for Students
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Comment #5 posted by freddybigbee on March 25, 2002 at 06:19:11 PT:
How Touching
"For many parents and educators, children's safety overshadows concerns for privacy rights."What a short-sighted outlook. Anyone familiar with history knows that freedom is rare, hard-won, short-lived and precarious. To piss it away out of a vague fear for children's safety is to play into the hands of the enemies of freedom.
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Comment #4 posted by DdC on March 24, 2002 at 12:18:36 PT
Vested Interest Giving Pissquiz'!!!
President Ronald Reagan, at the urging of then Vice President George Bush, appointed Carlton Turner as the White House Drug (czar) Advisor in 1981.
Soon after Turner left office, Nancy Reagan recommended that no corporation be permitted to do business with the Federal government without having a urine purity policy in place to show their loyalty. Carlton Turner became a rich man in what has now become a huge growth industry: urine-testing. ACS - Division of Analytical Chemistry - DAC Awards
John P. Walters 1980 FIT 2000 non-invasive 30-second impairment test.
"FIT 2000 is directly relevant to employers interested in high quality, exacting, detail work, as well as general safety and quality, without violating the privacy of the
employee'Partnership for Drug-policy Facts and Alternatives to the War Zeolots PDFA Partnership: Hard Sell in the Drug War is your Ad Campaign on Tax Money. Any Questions? is really behind the Partnership For A Drug Free America for Drug Policy Facts & Alternatives... Assassins of Youth: FRCn PDFA/DARE't it awfully odd that they need to maipulate bodily fluids just to see if someone is using cannabis? Thats easy with booze, just watch them stager, listen to them slur their words as they bow and puke to the porcelin god!
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Comment #3 posted by p4me on March 24, 2002 at 11:26:43 PT
very interesting situation
Now with tobacco being the largest drug killer of them all and a substance so addictive that a person smoking just one pack has a 50% chance of addiction, there is a real need to see that children do not start smoking and enter adulthood with that terrible addiction.Let's see how the politicians try to get around testing for nicotine in these underage lawbreakers. I can hear the first salvo now saying that nicotine is legal and it could have entered the underage lawbreaker from someone over 18. The prohibitionist are in the midst of another tight spot. How will they get out of this? It is as interesting as their stupid attempt to outlaw hempfoods? I grow more angry at the press for not exposing the waste, the wrong, and the sadness of the current policy on marijuana.The prohibitionist have a problem in that they have a problem learning. The prohibitionist need to learn to learn. When they learn to learn they are no longer prohibitionist. The media sure better be quiet about the cannabis news or there won't be but about 10 mental hospital -full prohibitionist left.It is time to march I guess. It is time to vote and there is some comfort in that fact. I am dissapointed that I cannot presently see the current ballot on line. That might happen in the next election. I think that you should be able to fill out the ballot at your computer and take in a 3.5 floppy or various memory devices and record your vote in a matter of seconds. Of course they are working on online voting in places and when that happens marijuana prohibition will end. The people with computers will have access to the major subject of marijuana law reform and they will be sure to vote and it will not be for continued prohibition. Look out the dam is going to have another leak come November elections. VAAI.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on March 24, 2002 at 11:10:26 PT
I mean, look at the Catholic priest scandal!
Imagine if these pedophile priests being exposed now had been in charge of urine testing of kids in their care.Who would imagine that their parish priest was a pervert?Right and who would imagine that the hardworking dedicated chemistry teacher at the local high school would be a pervert? Is he or isn't he? How could anyone know for sure?You never know where they are lurking, and it is REALLY STUPID to go putting more power over the bodies of children into their hands.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on March 24, 2002 at 11:01:52 PT
The perverts will just love student drug testing!
"This year I am a drum major," said the 17-year-old, who practices several afternoons and evenings a week for her after-school activities. But she would give it all up, she said, if she knew there were a chance she could be required to undergo drug testing to participate in those activities. "I wouldn't do the things that I do if I knew there was a chance of being tested," Heald said. "Not because I have something to hide, but just because it would be so humiliating."Normally she's not expected to expose her private parts to any random adult who happens to have power over her in the school system.I'll bet it's more than just humiliation she's feeling, also a very justifiable fear of sexual violation.There was a pedophile active in seducing kids in my class when I was a child, and luckily the police finally caught up with him before he ruined too many lives.But there are plenty more where he came from, and they are attracted to the school system and some of them will do WHATEVER it takes to get close to kids.Including becoming teachers and drug counselors, exactly the same people who will be administering these highly sexually invasive tests on children.These drug warriors have to be seriously out of touch with the ugly facts of the real world not to realize how this program will end up being abused on the ground.It's sad. In the end there will be lives ruined, and lawsuits against school districts, and one day the whole idea will be trashed mercilessly by everyone who came into contact with it.
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