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February 2006
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Don’t drug test our innocent children

Nice editorial in the North County Times:

If parents want to test their kids for drugs, the kits are cheap and available these days. But Vista Unified School District and other public officials should stick to education. […]
It just doesn’t make sense. Research shows that kids are better able to stay off drugs when they play sports or join clubs like the debating society, the school newspaper or the chess club. Why would officials want to discourage such participation by treating kids like criminals —- forcing insecure adolescents to give urine samples?
And although there are some authorities who say drug testing helps kids say no to pushy peers, there is at least one credible study that found mass testing fails to reduce rates of drug use by students.
Then there is the matter of federal intrusion into local policy: We don’t want the White House telling school districts how to handle student discipline any more than we want our school officials to demand urine from our children. […]
Yet the Vista school district and President Bush would invade the bodies and trample the privacy of an overwhelming majority of drug-free students in order to deter or catch a few who need help.
Mass drug testing crosses an old and noble line that has properly corralled officials since the founding of the republic. What makes the American system work so well is that government officials must leave the people alone in most circumstances. Intervention in people’s lives requires some clear evidence that they are doing something wrong.
Officials often drift to less freedom in the name of greater security, requiring the public to reassert that fundamental right to be left alone. […]
But mass drug testing is an offense against liberty; no government, federal or local, should subject a broad category of innocent children to indignities in hopes of catching a few in destructive behavior. What a terrible lesson for Vista’s children.

Powerful words.

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