DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 181 August 22, 2000 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 181 August 22, 2000 
Posted by FoM on August 22, 2000 at 12:14:15 PT
Father Stands Up Against Student Drug Testing 
Source: MapInc.
As more school districts implement drug testing programs, it is heartening to see some citizens taking a public stand against this attack on students' constitutional rights. People Magazine last week featured the story of Larry Tannahill who has refused to permit his son to participate in a random drug testing program at a local public school. As the story notes: "What disturbed Tannahill, 36, was the presumption of guilt: 
Parents were warned that if they didn't sign a form consenting to the exams, their children would be treated as if they had tested positive and punished with in-school suspension and a temporary ban from extracurricular activities." (For more information about Larry Tannahill and the Lockney policy, see MAP's shortcut to other stories at: Larry Tannahill and his family have found little local support for their challenge to the drug testing plan, but he should be commended for his stand. Please write a letter to People to show there are others who understand that drug war tactics like forcing grade school children to undergo unwarranted searches weakens the Constitution for all Americans.NOTE: People Magazine Circulation - 3.15 Million Readers!! WRITE A LETTER TODAYIf you YOU Who? If not NOW When? PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, fax etc.)Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list (sentlet if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness.CONTACT INFO:Source: People Magazine (US) Contact: editor ARTICLEUS: He Just Said NoURL: Newshawk: Bob Ramsey Pubdate: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 Source: People Magazine (US) Copyright: 2000 Time Inc. Contact: editor Address: People, Time-Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020 Feedback: Section: page 77 Authors: Thomas Fields-Meyer, Michael Haederle in Lockney (Newshawk note: Main page photo of Tannahill and sons on tailgate of pickup with caption: "It's a sad shame that people who don't even know these boys think they're guilty," says Tannahill (with sons Coby, left, and Brady). Three other photos: 1) Tannahill and Lawyer Jeff Conner before the Lockney school board 2) "Pro-test" student leader Jeffrey Hunter with water tower in background 3) Tannahill family playing ball in the yard.)Bookmark: MAP's shortcut to The Lockney Policy items: HE JUST SAID NO When The Local School Tried to Make His Son Take a Drug Test, Larry Tanahill Filed Suit A farming community of some 2,300 in the Texas Panhandle, Lockney might seem at first glance far removed from the drug problems facing larger cities. So Larry Tannahill was surprised last January when his son Brady, 12, came home with the news that the town's schools would be requiring every student from sixth grade up to submit to routine urine tests. What disturbed Tannahill, 36, was the presumption of guilt: Parents were warned that if they didn't sign a form consenting to the exams, their children would be treated as if they had tested positive and punished with in-school suspension and a temporary ban from extracurricular activities. "It's not right," says Tannahill. "It's going against everything they're teaching these kids about government." Tannahill and his wife, Traci, 35, refused to sign--and they were the only parents to do so. Frustrated after protesting the policy to school officials and speaking out at a public meeting, Tannahill took his complaint to another level: In March he sued the school district in federal Court on the grounds that the policy violated his son's Constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure. As a result, Tannahill has found himself ostracized in the town, where four generations of his family have lived. He is also out of work, fired from his job with a farmer whose wife and sister are employed by the school district. Still, he vows to fight on. "We're trying to raise these boys with trust," he says of Brady and his brother Coby, 11. "And I just believe they've taken that away." An A and B student who has never been in trouble, Brady stands firmly with his dad. "I don't think it's right," he says of the policy. "They are just telling you, 'Do it or else.'" Whether the court backs up the Tannahills remains to be seen. In 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a policy allowing random drug testing for student athletes in the small town of Vernonia, Ore. Citing an American Academy of Pediatrics policy critical of drug testing, Graham Boyd, a lawyer handling Tannahill's suit for the American Civil Liberties Union, argues that such policies haven't been shown to curb abuse. "They look tough on drugs," he says, "but they're not effective." Despite its bucolic setting, Lockney has had its battles with drugs. In September 1998, after a lengthy undercover investigation, a grand jury indicted 11 locals, all adults, on charges of cocaine trafficking. (Eight defendants were convicted, and three cases are pending.) School superintendent Raymond Lusk notes that teachers had complained of students showing up on Monday mornings with drug and alcohol hangovers. "Our staff felt like there was a severe problem," he says. Incoming student council president Jeffrey Hunter, 17, who supports the policy, says he learned about drugs in Lockney schools "pretty much as soon as I got into sixth grade. That's when it starts." Lockney adopted its policy-modeled after one in Sundown, 76 miles away-in November. All students and staff would be tested during the first round; thereafter 10 percent of the school population would undergo tests monthly. "I'm sure there's drugs in Lockney," says Tannahill. "But I don't think there's enough to warrant what they're trying to do." Before January the soft-spoken Tannahill was not exactly known as a rabble rouser. The youngest of three children born to a Lockney farmer and his homemaker wife, he tried farming on his own but later hired on as a hand for another local farmer, moving to the small rented house he shares with Traci--a clerk at a nearby prison--and their sons. Neighbors have offered little support for their stance. "If either one of my children were doing drugs, I'd want them to get help," says Pat Garza, 36, mother of two teenagers. "I don't see what the big deal is." Other Lockney residents have been harsher: Someone shot Ranger, the Tannahills' boxer, with a paint ball, and a note was left on their door that said, "You're messing with our kids." Letters to the local paper have suggested the Tannahills relocate. "You should not have to pack your bags," says Traci, just because you disagree." Waiting for a U.S. district judge to hear his case, Larry Tannahill isn't going anywhere. "What I'm doing is my birthright," he says. "They have the right to try to have this policy, and I have the right to try to stop it, because I'm concerned for my kids." SAMPLE LETTER All Americans should be grateful for Larry Tannahill's stand against mandatory drug tests at his son's school ("He Just Said No," Aug. 21). By insisting that the U.S. Constitution be taken seriously, he attempts to protect freedom for all of us. He also sets a good example for other families. With mandatory drug tests, adults are telling youth that regardless of any positive actions, they still must prove their innocence by producing bodily fluids on command. By showing such disrespect to young people, how can adults expect to get anything different in return? Stephen Young IMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone number Please note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts 3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide: TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE: TO UNSUBSCRIBE SEE: Prepared by Stephen Young Focus Alert Specialist Map: Focus Alert Archives: MapInc. Archives: Search - Lockney:
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Comment #2 posted by dankhank on August 22, 2000 at 14:56:08 PT:
OK . let's get to it ...:-)
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Comment #1 posted by Mitchell on August 22, 2000 at 14:47:33 PT:
                    Leave It To Beamer        Wally: Hey Dad.         Dad: Oh Hello Wally. Uh Wally, your mother and I wanted to talk to you about something. Weíre        uh a little concerned about the Beaver.         Wally: Why Dad?  Did he try to feed his Brussel sprouts to the goldfish again?         Dad: No Wally, Iím afraid itís a bit more serious than that. He seems so withdrawn lately, and he        always has those head phones on; heís always in his room and . . .         Wally: Well heck Dad, heís probably beating his meat. Itís the only thing we kids get to do        anymore without having a bunch of grown ups holler at us. I mean you donít have to worry about        the Beav hitting a ball into Fireman Peteís living room window as long as heís in his room        whacking away.         Dad: No, and I donít have to worry if heís so spaced out on drugs that he canít hit a ball either        Wally, butÖ         Wally: You mean you think the Beav is doing drugs? Thatís a good one. He wouldnít know what        end of the bong to suck. Heíd probably burn his mouth. Why if he tried to buy drugs, heíd wind        up with a bruised shoulder and no lunch money for his trouble.         Dad: Maybe so Wally, but just as a precaution Iím having Mr. Gordon come over with his drug        sniffing dog , Beamer, to have a little look around Beaverís room. Youíll like Beamer; heís a        friendly dog..                 Dad: Oh hello Dan, címon in. I was just telling my other son Wally here that we were expecting        you. And howís Beamer? My . . . heís a splendid animal.         Wally: Yeah he sure is cute for a narc.         Dad: Wally, Mr. Gordon went to a lot of trouble to bring Beamer here, and I wonít have you        making those kind of remarks.         Mom: Wally, your friend Eddie is on the phone.         Wally: Er right dad, sorry; can I be excused?         Dad: Certainly Wally, Mr. Gordon and I . . . oh and Beamer here, were just heading upstairs.         Beamer:         Wally: Hey Eddie. Guess what my dadís got, a drug sniffing dog in Beaverís room. He thinks the        Beav might be on heroin or something. Just because heís been acting a little strange lately.         Eddie: Wally, that brother of yours donít need drugs. Heís all messed-up on life. That little squirt        was BORN strange. Boy! Waitíll I tell everyone at school that Wally Cleaverís dad is like some        kind of narco G-man storm trooper. No girl in school is going to want to get anywhere near you.        Your dad probably has the phone tapped, too.         Dad: Wally!         Wally: Yeah well Eddie, I gotta go. I guess thereís no point in asking you not to tell anyone.         Eddie: None my man.         Wally: Yeah well see ya.         Dad: Wally I just wanted to tell you that we didnít find any drugs in Beaverís room. But still Iím        not sorry we checked. These are very dangerous times weíre living in.         Wally: Yeah, Eddie Haskell says he's going to tell everyone at school that you brought a drug        dog into the house to check-up on Beaver. But he can announce it over the P.A. system if wants        to. I know you did it because you care about us.         Dad: I knew you vould come to see it our vay, Vally.         Mitchell Greentower
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