Probable Cause for Drug Testing Difficult to Find

Probable Cause for Drug Testing Difficult to Find
Posted by FoM on July 24, 2000 at 09:17:46 PT
By Steve Stephens, Dispatch Metro Columnist 
Source: Columbus Dispatch
On Tuesday, every high-school athlete in the Dublin district might become a suspect. The Dublin Board of Education is expected to vote tonight on a proposal to mandate drug testing among athletes. The tests aren't meant to find performance-enhancing substances that would give them an unfair advantage but rather illegal chemicals that would brand them criminals. 
The policy would impart a valuable lesson, no doubt, but not the lesson proponents have in mind. Nowadays, nearly everyone is a suspect. The high-school athletes in Logan Elm, London, Marysville and Pickerington districts, who must urinate in a cup whenever school officials demand, already are suspects. So is anyone police catch with a large amount of cash. Anyone who sends e-mail is a suspect. The FBI's Carnivore system is, even now, searching millions of messages for references to criminal targets. And any black man in a nice car is, of course, a suspect. Many private-sector employees, who are required to take drug tests to keep their jobs, are suspects, too. But on-the-job drug testing, although distasteful, is a matter between employer and employee. Even The Dispatch requires prospective employees to urinate in a cup -- and not to test dexterity. I suppose our editors would feel guilty if we were to win a Pulitzer Prize with the aid of speed-enhanced headline writers. (No, the policy was not in effect when I was hired.) Private schools, too, should have the right to test students willy-nilly for drugs, although I'd never send my children to such a school. Public schools should be different, though. Citizens are not forced to associate with any particular private institution, but all are forced to pay for public schools. The Bill of Rights restrains government intrusion into citizens' lives, and public schools are a part of the government. Police still need probable cause to stop citizens on the street. A public- school teacher is as much an officer of the government as a cop. Public-school students should have the same rights in the school as they do on the street. But, with those rights being sacrificed daily to the war on drugs, perhaps Dublin students should just grin and bare it, so to speak. Many students, I'm sure, will think the whole matter a joke, anyway. For consistency, though, those who fail the drug tests should not just be kicked off the team but also be handed over to the police. After all, shouldn't a kid from Dublin Coffman who has been caught doing a little experimenting get the same penalty as a kid from the inner city? A few years in prison would teach a valuable civics lesson, one that hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders are learning. The lesson should not favor the black and the poor, as it does now. As proponents of these policies like to say, the innocent need not worry. And, in that spirit of worry-free disclosure, I suggest that school-board members who vote for the new policy provide their tax forms, bank statements, employee files and medical records for public perusal. They also should provide urine samples for testing before each board meeting. Why should they object if they've nothing to hide? Steve Stephens is a Dispatch Metro columnist. He can be reached at 614- 461-5201 or sstephen dispatch.comLetters To The Editor: letters dispatch.comPublished: Monday, July 24, 2000Copyright  2000, The Columbus Dispatch CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives: Articles On Drug Testing:
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