Mandatory Tests are an Invasion of Privacy 

Mandatory Tests are an Invasion of Privacy 
Posted by FoM on October 22, 2000 at 07:12:49 PT
By Walter F. Wouk, Special To The Register
Source: Mobile Register 
Earlier this year, a Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll indicated that 72 percent of respondents support the concept of random drug testing in schools. Why would these people be so willing to forfeit the civil rights of their children? Is America turning into a nation of sheep? Apparently so. In a recent USA Weekend poll, 72 percent of the respondents said they "would be supportive if an employer asked them to take a random drug test." 
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 22 million American workers submit to mandatory, random drug testing every year as a condition of employment. And yet random, suspicionless drug testing is a repudiation of everything America stands for. In 1762, the Crown of England sanctioned the use of "writs of assistance" - general warrants that permitted the king's deputies to enter anyone's house at any time to browse through belongings, books and boudoirs at their leisure. Writs of assistance were issued without the requirement of probable cause or specified place to be searched; neither did the writ have a time limit or requirement to return it to the court. It was, in short, a fishing license. Irate colonists rebelled, and at war's end the memory of the hated "writs of assistance" inspired the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which states that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized." The right to be secure from "unreasonable searches" may exist on paper, but for many Americans it may as well be toilet paper. In the 1950s, employers spooked by the "Soviet threat" instituted mandatory loyalty oaths that forced employees to forswear any support for communism. In the 1990s, marijuana replaced communism as the great threat to our society, and drug testing became mandatory for many Americans. Urine tests are the most common. The standard practice in administering such tests is to require individuals to urinate in the presence of a witness, to guard against specimen tampering. Some employers, on the other hand, think that hair analysis is a more accurate way to test for drug use. Lab analysis of the hair purports to show whether the person used marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines or other illegal drugs in the previous 90 days. (Critics of hair testing point out that blacks are more likely to be caught by such tests than whites because dark, coarse hair might absorb more drugs than does light, fine hair.) But whether it's urine testing or hair testing, mandatory drug testing is an unprecedented invasion of privacy. When an employer or a school district implements mandatory, suspicionless drug testing, they are declaring their contempt for the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the presumption of "innocent until proven guilty" and America's libertarian tradition. Yet millions of American workers in both the public and private sectors must submit to humiliating drug tests as a condition for getting or keeping a job. "Bubba" may be a bruiser who can bully his way around any bar on a Friday night - but when his boss tells him to "fill this jar," Bubba says, "Yes, sir," and urinates his rights and his self-respect away. In schools across America, educators are teaching their students about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But when it comes to mandatory drug-testing, the Fourth Amendment has about as much legal importance to school administrators as last year's calendar. Fortunately, there are a few jurists who disagree. Recently, in South Bend, Ind., Penn-Harris-Madison school officials tried to institute a policy that called for random testing of all high school and middle school students who were involved in extracurricular activities or who had parking passes to drive to school. A group of Penn students and parents challenged the policy in court. In one of his last decisions as a St. Joseph Superior Court judge, George N. Beamer overturned the district's random drug-testing policy. "There are few activities in American society more personal and private than the passing of urine," he said. There is no place in a free society for mandatory drug-testing. It is fundamentally un-American. Judge Beamer told Penn-Harris-Madison school officials "to stay out of the bathroom." South Alabama school officials should heed the judge's advice and stay out of their students' hair. Walter F. Wouk is director of The Thomas Paine Project, headquartered in Cobleskill, New York. His e-mail address is: TPP Source: Mobile Register (AL)Published: October 22, 2000Author: Walter F. Wouk, Special to the RegisterAddress: PO Box 2488, Mobile, AL 36652Fax: (334)434-8662Copyright: 2000 Mobile Register.Contact: fcoleman mobileregister.comForum: Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #3 posted by JIm moore on April 19, 2001 at 15:27:25 PT:
drug testing in schools
drug testing in gay, there is no reason that a "official" can randomly zone in and drug test somone! i mean some on, your getting your germs all over me!
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Comment #2 posted by Ed Carpenter on October 22, 2000 at 18:02:53 PT:
Mandatory tests are an invasion of privacy
"In schools across America, educators are teaching their students about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.But when it comes to mandatory drug-testing, the Fourth Amendment has about as much legal importance toschool administrators as last year's calendar."Nah, I have problems with the first half of that paragraph. I am a high school teacher, and the kids are taught next to nothing about the Constitution or Bill of Rights.These subjects haven't been taught to any great extent in years, at least not in the public schools. Take the Pledge of Allegiance, for example. It is recited every morning at the start of school. How many of you can tell me anything at all about "the Republic for which it stands?"You have to demand that the Constitution and Bill of Rights be required learning in your schools. Ask your kids the same question I just asked you. Ask the school principal. Ask your School Committee members, and maybe you'll see why drug testing is accepted. Nobody knows any better.
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Comment #1 posted by Neil on October 22, 2000 at 08:13:52 PT
What about New Hampshire?
C'mon, it's obvious, Alabama IS full of sheep along with Tennessee. But they have an excuse, they're sheep with a single focus on football. What about New Hampshire? Their license plates pronounce their motto, "LIVE FREE OR DIE" but it doesn't seem to be the case. They live under the tyranny of unconstitutional urine tests, asset forfeiture laws and drug laws that violate the ninth amendment of the Bill of Rights as much as any other states. Why is it Alaska and not New Hampshire that has taken the lead for liberty with the ballot initiative this November calling for the legalization of marijuana that lets adults decide whether they want the substance in their bodies? New Hampshire--TALK IS CHEAP!!! Until you show the rest of us 49 states something resembling leadership in the fight for liberty maybe you should stop embarassing yourselves and quietly put away the banners and the phony boasts on license plates.
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