This news by Steve Lawrence, AP in the North County Times (Thanks to Herb for the tip).
SACRAMENTO — State senators voted Tuesday to ban random drug testing of California students, agreeing that schools should have “reasonable suspicion” before checking for drug or alcohol use.
“How many of you folks in this room would submit to random drug testing if that’s what this bill did?” asked one of the legislation’s supporters, Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. “I would not.
“I can’t think of anything that would be more repulsive to the conservative philosophy of the Republican Party.”
The bill, by Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, would bar testing unless school officials had reasonable suspicion that a student had illegally used drugs or alcohol “in the school environment.”
It would require that that suspicion be based on “articulable facts” and “rational inferences” instead of curiosity, rumor, hunch, race, national origin, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or suspicion or evidence of drug use among the student’s family or friends.
The legislation also would require the school to try to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian before ordering a student to have a drug test and to refer students who test positive to someone for counseling.
Vasconcellos said research indicates that drug testing doesn’t deter students from using drugs. “Our limited resources are better spent on better drug education and more positive reinforcement,” he said.
Note how senators from both parties demonstrate that suspicionless drug testing goes against core values of each of their parties. The provisions of the bill are so strong, clear, and sensible, it makes me wonder how they got in a bill written by politicians.
Here are some of the points in the actual bill (SB1386).
(3) All individuals have an express and inalienable right to
privacy under Section 1 of Article I of the California Constitution.
(4) Random, suspicionless drug testing impairs the trust and
cooperation between parents, pupils, and school staff that is
instrumental to a productive learning environment, thereby
distracting pupils, educators, and administrators, from the core
educational mission of the public schools.
(5) Dr. Ryoko Yamaguchi, Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston, and Dr. Patrick M.
O’Malley, in an article appearing in the April 2003, edition of the
Journal of School Health, conclude that random drug testing is not
an effective deterrent to drug use by pupils.
(6) Random drug testing programs are costly, absorbing scarce
funds that would be better used on core curricula, school security,
and drug use prevention, education, and treatment.
(b) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to ban the costly and
ineffective practice of random, suspicionless drug or alcohol
testing, while preserving the authority of school officials to
suspend, expel, or otherwise discipline pupils who violate health and
safety rules by using, distributing, or selling drugs or alcohol.
The vote was 26-10 in the Senate, without debate. It still has to go to the House and be signed by the governator (that should be interesting).
Yesterday, the California Senate also passed (on a slightly more narrow margin) SB1159:
It would allow pharmacists participating in a demonstration project to sell up to 10 hypodermic needles to an adult without a doctor’s prescription.
Vasconcellos said the bill, which was sent to the Assembly by a 22-13 vote, was an attempt to reduce the spread of AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases through the sharing of needles by drug addicts.
Two excellent bills, and a fine example to other states.