The California PTA knows the truth

Today’s Los Angeles Times reports: State PTA Backs Ban on Random Drug Testing

Across America, the PTA has long fought to prevent student drug use, but last month its California leaders found themselves sparring with federal drug officials in the state Capitol.

The two sides squared off in an Assembly hearing over a bill that would outlaw “suspicionless” drug testing. A handful of schools in California and nationwide have begun testing students without any evidence of drug use, and the PTA opposes it.

“As parents, we’re certainly concerned about addressing issues of student drug abuse,” said Kathy Moffat, a spokeswoman for the California State PTA. “But a random drug-testing program implies there is no trust.” …

With more than 1 million parent, teacher and student members, the state PTA also opposes zero-tolerance policies under which students can be removed from school for any violation of drug rules. The organization sees its effort to block random drug testing as another way to protect children.

PTA officials say the money used to conduct random drug tests would be better spent going after root causes of substance abuse with education and treatment.

Opponents also fear that arbitrary tests could discourage students who take birth control pills, antidepressants or other prescription medications from participating in activities that require students to accept random drug testing. …

In June, state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer came out in support of the Vasconcellos legislation because, he said, suspicionless testing violates constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure. Planned Parenthood and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People also support the proposed testing ban.

In 2003, a University of Michigan study of 76,000 students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades suggested that school drug tests did not affect rates of illicit drug use. The fear of testing positive did not appear to discourage new users from trying drugs.

Certainly California is one state that is not going to just bend over and accept the Drug Czar’s dictates. It’s nice to see an organization like the PTA (which certainly cannot be accused of not caring about the welfare of children) oppose the wrongheaded policies that come out of the ONDCP. They know. Mandatory testing is wrong.
Some even see the hypocrisy. One mother quoted in the article noted that “she found it curious that the athletic department would test for recreational drugs, but not for performance enhancers such as steroids.”
No, mandatory drug testing is not about students or reducing drug use. It’s about creating another campaign in the failed drug war that’s profitable to the warriors.
(Thanks to Richard Lake with the always helpful MAP for the heads up.)

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