At Least We're Talking About These Issues 

At Least We're Talking About These Issues 
Posted by FoM on December 06, 2000 at 11:18:18 PT
By David Stevens
Source: Amarillo Globe-News
A lot of Texas Panhandle people are tired of the national attention we've garnered recently with efforts to rid our communities of illegal drugs. I think we all should be pleased with what we've accomplished.I'm not among the crowd that believes our constitutional rights should be compromised to win the so-called war on drugs. I'm not convinced our nation's prisons need to be expanded so we can lock up airheads who smoke marijuana in their houses. 
And I'm not a blind supporter of law enforcement that sometimes uses questionable means to justify the ends in drug cases.But I do like the idea that we're talking about all of these issues.Here's some talk related to the latest headlines:Tulia school superintendent Mike Vinyard has long contended that random student drug tests deter illicit drug use. Now he believes he has statistics to back that claim.During the 1997-98 school year, Tulia school officials tested 385 students at random; 10 tests showed evidence of an illicit drug.In 1998-99, the district conducted 954 random tests, and 14 came in with positive results.So far this year, two of 258 random tests have been positive, Vinyard said.The percentage of positive tests dropped from 2.6 percent in 1997-98 to 1.5 percent in 1998-99 to 0.8 percent this year."The purpose of this program was to be a deterrent and give students a reason to say no to peer pressure," he said. "We feel like it's been effective."The school's testing practice was declared unconstitutional last week by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson. In almost four years of Tulia's drug-testing program, school officials have tested four students based on "reasonable suspicion," Vinyard said.Two of those four students tested positive for an illicit drug, he said.New York-based attorney Graham Boyd is leading the American Civil Liberties Union in its lawsuit related to the Lockney schools' drug-testing policy. His reaction to Judge Robinson's ruling on the Tulia case:"I'm not going to make any predictions on how that will affect the Lockney case, but I will tell you I agree with Judge Robinson's reading of the law," he said. "I think she's right. Appellate courts have long ago said no drug testing is allowed in Texas (schools) except for athletes. . . . School districts that do drug testing beyond athletes should take a good, hard look at that."Deadline for both sides to submit written arguments in the Lockney case is Dec. 15, Boyd said. U.S. District Court Judge Sam R. Cummings will issue a ruling after considering the arguments.Tulia farmer Gary Gardner, whose son Hollister filed the original lawsuit challenging Tulia's drug tests, seems to be enjoying his place in the controversial spotlight."Before this happened, I was only 5 feet 4 inches tall," he said this week. "After we got that deal (Judge Robinson's ruling), I'm standing 6 feet 4. We are feeling good about it."David Stevens is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at (806) 467-1312. His e-mail address is: swnews tcac.netSource: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)Author: David GeorgePublished: December 6, 2000Copyright: 2000 Amarillo Globe-NewsAddress: P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166Fax: (806) 373-0810Contact: letters amarillonet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:A.C.L.U. Suit To Move To Next Level ISD To Fight Drug-Test Ruling Drug Testing Archives Articles - Tulia Drug Testing 
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Comment #2 posted by Smokeless in Seattle on December 06, 2000 at 15:47:06 PT
Exclusion and Inclusion
Outcast! You're a "drug user"! They wouldnt do this to a kid who had a drinking problem, where is the help for these kids? There's no reason for a kid to have easy access to something that only adults should have. It's as simple as all that. Saying 'you're a bad girl, your a druggie', is not a good thing; kids believe what you tell them. I feel sorry for the ppl in Amarillo; their "problem" will get worse.
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Comment #1 posted by Dave in Florida on December 06, 2000 at 15:21:31 PT
a real deterrent
>The percentage of positive tests dropped from 2.6 percent in 1997-98 to 1.5 percent in 1998-99 to 0.8 percent thisyear.>"The purpose of this program was to be a deterrent and give students a reason to say no to peer pressure," he said."We feel like it's been effective."It just means that the school discriminates against people that consume drugs. I am sure there are kids that don't participate in the extracuricualar activities because they smoke a herb and know they will fail a drug test. I am sure there are many talented kids that smoke and choose not to particpate. It seems to me that the schools should encourage everyone to participate regardless (except sports) including kids that consume drugs instead of shuning them.
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