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Thank You, Peoria Journal Star

Just down the road from me, there’s been a contentious situation as teachers have been on strike. One of the strike issues has been over mandatory random suspicionless drug-testing for teachers.

The main newspaper in the area has come forward with a powerful editorial: At Illini Bluffs, A Principle Worthy Of The Picket Line

The teachers strike at Illini Bluffs is into its second week and eyeballing a third, and it has been fascinating, if also a bit depressing, to read the back-and-forth in the on-line comments to Journal Star stories.

Once upon a time this nation stood for something, affording its citizens an unprecedented set of civil liberties. Americans got used to those, so much so that they wouldn’t give them up without a fight. Apparently that spirit has vanished from certain segments of the population, if not from the ranks of these teachers. […]

Ultimately, it’s about the kind of country you want to live in. The nation’s Founding Fathers got it. ( Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ) The teachers get it. The Illini Bluffs School Board doesn’t. ( No wonder its members have remained so silent. )

And unfortunately a fair number of citizens don’t get it either. They subscribe to the misperception that such random drug testing policies are common. ( If there is another Illinois public school district that does what Illini Bluffs is proposing, no one seems to be aware of it. ) Routine are the all-too-porous arguments that these teachers “are lucky to have a job” or “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” ( Imagine the constitutional abuses that could be excused by those attitudes. ) One appreciates that this economy has cowed a lot of people, but this level of passive and compliant seems downright un-American. Who’d have thought sticking up for the Constitution would prove in the least bit unpopular?

Freedom. What a concept.

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51 comments to Thank You, Peoria Journal Star

  • vickyvampire

    We are a Fucking Police state these days.
    Like I say drug test Obama,Hillary,Boenher.and all of Congress,Senate,Federal and state Judges including every lawyerand police daily.

    George Noory radio show had on author Jim Marrs,he briefly stated it funny Marijuana not legal yet,but the government has patents issued for using it in future. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!!!.ASS-HOLES.

  • greg

    Ok, I’ll preface this by saying I’m against drug tests in every possible sense. However, as a professional engineer in my mid-thirties I have not yet found a job which DOESN’T require me to piss in a cup. I would essentially have to move careers to find one which doesn’t.
    Yet public employees, to the best of my knowledge, have not been subjected to this.
    My question to (my fellow libertarians), is how you square the fact that public employees seemingly have more “freedom”, than their private sector counterparts?

    (I guess you could say that private sector EMPLOYERS have more freedom than public sector employers (the government), but that’s a strange concept of freedom from where I sit).

    • It’s a good point, Greg. Essentially, suspicionless drug testing is implicated in the Fourth Amendment, in terms of limiting what the government can do. That does give an advantage to those employed by the government (or a disadvantage to the government, if you want to look at it that way).

      Of course, that’s merely looking at drug testing from a purely base Constitutional restriction on government power, rather than looking at drug testing as a policy within a free country.

      I believe that the people could pass laws denying the ability for companies to conduct suspicionless drug testing.

      The libertarian answer, of course, is to stop the government from bribing businesses into requiring it, and then getting the people to put a stop to it.

      I, for one, never have and never will work for a company that requires supicionless drug testing. Not everyone feels that they have the ability to make that kind of decision based on their employability power, or their field (as in your case).

      • Ben

        It is sad that so many private companies require drug tests these days. After 10 hours of interviewing, and my acceptance of a verbal offer, my current employer STILL required me to take a drug test(and credit check, and background check).

        When I saw that in the written offer, I called them immediately and told them that it’s a deal breaker. I told them, I prefer pot to alcohol. And I reserve to right to smoke. And if they have a problem with that, then I don’t care to work for them.

        They got back to me 24 hours later and said, that shows strong character. We agree, it’s silly, and we’re going to look into changing our policy for executive employees. But we still need you to piss in a cup. We’ll look the other way on any marijuana results.

        I wasn’t pleased with that, but I was able to live with it. It still felt like a massive invasion of privacy, ESPECIALLY after I read the “privacy practices” release form. Talk about obnoxious… “We will not release your test result information to anyone… Unless they ask us, and we think they deserve to know.” Basically, anyone who digs deep enough will probably be able to find a positive marijuana test with my name on it.

      • if “We the People” would act like the Constitution really is our sacred charter, there would be no drug testing. we all need to comprehend that the “Bill of Rights” is meaningless unless we all as individuals (we are, after all, the government) live by it.

        if i’m not willing to cede such power to the political classes, then why in the hell should i cede it to some random jackass dangling my livelihood over my head? i shouldn’t, i won’t and i expect every single American to act the same way.

        this nation can only survive as the meaningful bastion of Liberty to the extent that we ALL treat each other as equal citizens endowed with inalienable rights.

        • Windy

          Oh, you are SO right! I’ve been saying much the same thing in many different ways, since at least 1974, but very few actually even bother to listen.

    • darkcycle

      Greg, your problem isn’t that they test for every job in your field…it’s that you’re a peon. (or is that Pee-on?)
      Look at your department managers and the corporate management…do they pee? Huh. Didn’t think so.
      Urine testing has one constant: it is reserved for those who must petition for employment…not those courted for the positions.

    • pt

      I too work in the engineering field with random tests. I can tell you though it is 100% because it is required by the federal government, not the boss. However we do contract for jobs and the customer will require the drug tests as a condition for the bid. Also drugtesting immediately after any accident whether you are at fault or not is a condition of insurers. So its not really my company that drug tests suspicionlessly, they certainly would not, it is a requirement of doing business. Personally I have been drug tested 4 times this year………..

      • darkcycle

        That only applies for defense contracts. I have friends who are total, over the top stoners (and growers!) who are aerospace engineers at Boeing….they work in the Commercial Aircraft division. I also have friends here at Boeing in the Defense end, and they are far more circumspect. But I do feel your pain.
        On the other hand, my brother-in-law is at whirlpool, in the materials division. He’s a manager and still has to pee. No defense contracts involved. Just policy. And the corporate types above him? No pee positions. So it is still a matter of testing only line employees and their managers there. I assure you the CEO does not pee for anyone.

        • Windy

          My brother is in the aerospace engineering division of Boeing, he’s one who is supposed to find the flaws in new designs. Years ago he used to work on the lines (wing riveter) and he invented a tool which Boeing patented and is still using, he had a couple other inventions which Boeing claim the patents for as he invented them while working there. He used to really enjoy his job and the recognition he had worldwide in his field; now he’s emotionally ready, but feels financially unable, to retire. He’s tired of the politics in his division (which is a relatively new development), and the stress which is the result of such, and has reached the point where he just does his job, period.

  • greg

    Pete,
    Yeah, I’d tried to take that stand before. but it’s usually the LAST step in getting the job. So you basically have to start the interview by asking, “Am I going to be required to pass a pee test?” ….and you won’t make it to the second round.
    (and you make a great point about the incentives companies are given to maintain a “drug-free workplace”)

    Darkcycle,
    This is exaclty my point. I’m not a paeon (I run the product development group). This has been implemented company wide (from the hourly employee to the CEO). I guess I should feel lucky that at my level they at least allow me to at least fill the cup privately.

    • Greg – don’t ask about the drug test as the first step. Wait until they want you and have decided they want to hire you (so you’re important to them), and then when they say you need to take a drug test, this is when you start interviewing them:

      “Do you reason to believe that I’m impaired by drugs or that I have any history of working impaired by drugs?”

      “It has been said that pre-employment drug testing is a kind of intelligence test to see if the employee can stay off pot for the two weeks necessary to pass the test. Don’t you have better ways to test engineers for intelligence? This isn’t Wal-Mart.”

      “It concerns me that this policy in many companies seems to indicate a lack of management skill (an inability to tell when employees are impaired on the job, so they instead just test everyone) and it signals a lack of valuation of employees’ work.”

      “I feel that I have reached a level where I should be considered based on the quality of my work and not be required to debase myself in order to prove innocence to others. I was ready to take this job, but what the job testing requirement says about your company concerns me greatly. How can you reassure me that this company values its employees?”

      Turn the interview around. If enough people do this, HR people will be concerned that they’re losing the cream of the crop. You don’t even have to refuse if you’re concerned about the job. You just have to make them believe that you very well might refuse.

  • greg

    kind of reminds me of the libertarian argument regarding the civil rights movement. Basically, that the government doesn’t need to get involved, because all the businesses that discriminate against black people will eventually go out of business as discrimination loses popular appeal.
    That’s great, but what if the vast majority of people want to patronize whites-only businesses?

    Sorry for the runon postings, but I’m interested in these areas that strain my libertarian philosophy.

  • Dante

    Yet another example of how those who loudly proclaim their devotion to “Liberty” are, in fact, our jailers.

    One day the nation’s pendulum will swing back from it’s current right-wing position. I hope it takes their heads off when it does.

  • anon in chicago

    Paraphrasing Pete: In the job interview, reply: I believe that you, sir, have nazi images tattoos on your genitals. If you’re innocent, then what do you have to hide?

  • Shapiro

    This one is hard to go both ways on. You are either for it or against it!
    Of course no one would argue with the school bus drivers being randomly drug tested…they are in charge of our children’s safety….so with that said, our teachers are in charge of shaping our children’s minds.
    If this is truly a protest and demonstration against first amendment rights and fear of what could be next, I could support this cause…but as someone pointed out earlier, there aren’t many districts in Illinois that I am aware of with this policy. So what made this requirement be added to the contract?
    There is obviously some reasons or suspicions that we haven’t been made aware of to warrant this concern. And possibly the citizens of the Illini Bluffs School district should push to find out what is in the school closets! Lets face it, a superintendent doesn’t just wake up one day and say lets upgrade the history books and drug test all the teachers.
    I have to agree with the drug testing, and not just for teachers…but all government employee’s…you and I pay their salaries…I would like to think that I am getting the most for my money! And if you as a government employee don’t like this…then head on over and work at the Mall..I buy most of my clothes from stoners!

    • suspicionless drug testing is an affront to dignity and a clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Stress and exhaustion are the two greatest threats to safety in the workplace. Searching piss for micro particles of certain drugs is, at best, asinine (and another tool of the sado-moralists).

    • darkcycle

      I’LL ARGUE WITH IT! In what world is it right to demand that a person’s most private moments (the toidy) be shared with one’s employer as a condition of securing a job? Can you present to me the evidence that pre employment drug testing prevents accidents? Or even discourages drug use once employed? Show me the evidence that says people who use marijuana recreationally on their own time in the privacy of their own homes pose a risk to school kids or anybody else while on the job and straight as a board. Show me the stats that say bus drivers (or anybody else) have more accidents stoned than straight. I’m waiting….
      Just what happened to the American people that this sort of invasive, debasing treatment is considered right and normal? I guarantee you my grandfather would have busted anybody who had asked him to submit to that right in the chops. No questions asked, job be damned.

    • tell you what shapiro — i’ll give you a glass of my piss to put on your desk to stare at all day while i do my job. how much work do you think my glass of piss will do all day?

      and of course, my favorite one-liner: if you can’t tell who the “druggies” are without testing their piss, then exactly what problem are they are creating?

      • Windy

        “if you can’t tell who the “druggies” are without testing their piss, then exactly what problem are they are creating?”
        Stealing that one for my fb status, thanks.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      You’re in the wrong place to say “no one would argue with testing school bus drivers, blah, blah, blah.”

      It’s fantasy land thinking if you have the notion that no one would argue against respecting a person’s natural born right to privacy. One of my favorite activities in life is minding my own business, and I’m under the impression that’s not an uncommon trait among those who frequent this blog.

      It’s beyond silly to think that urine testing is some sort of magic bullet that will cause people to stop getting high. I must say I find straight peoples’ religionist like faith in urine testing most amusing. You people are clueless.

      You can find Otto Mann here:
      http://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=102967

  • drug testing… grrr

    Never again will I allow suspicionless examination of my urine for microscopic particles of anything. FTS. My time, my business. Impairment testing otoh is reasonable and not as expensive once an empoyee’s base line is established – then when there is suspicion…

    I know someone here on the couch can provide us names of those former drug kzars who are financially vested in the urinalysis corpocracy.

    Funny that the Peoria JS is taking such a stand when but a few years ago they were so miserly and spiteful in their coverage of our late friend and compassionate nurse, Beth Wehrman. Can they extend their philosophy to the rest of the WO(s)D? It’s not a long stretch.

  • allan, as i have continuously pointed out, it is robert dupont and peter bensinger driving the train on this horseshit. they started it all back in the late 70s – early 80s time frame — and they’re really only in it for the money.

    everyone needs to to pay attention to the “drug control strategy” — they want to make drug testing a major part of our lifescape. every one of us will be tested several times every goddamn day if those assholes get their way.

    but that’s what you get when nadelman and the cabal of jackasses continues to bleat about the lop-sided drug budget and keep hammering that more needs to be spent on prevention and treatment.

    i know you already get it allan, as does pete and a lot of others — but far too many people in dpr are drinking the kool-aid

    • Windy

      Prevention is all well and good, IF it takes the form of education with accurate information. Any other measures (drug testing, for one) begin to interfere with one’s natural unalienable rights and interfering with a person’s unalienable rights is unlawful, a chargeable crime, even for non-governmental agencies, organizations, businesses. This is how reformers should approach it — on the rights issue. The more we talk about it the more people will realize how it affects their exercising of their fundamental rights to self-ownership and to be left alone.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      You know, exposing Messrs. DuPont and Benzinger’s financial interest in urine testing was a total flop. The ignorati that swear fealty to suspicionless testing just don’t think it the indictment of the whole process that we do. After all, somebody’s got to make the dough. Now if we could link them financially to the sales of synthetic urine and show that they’re playing two ends against the middle we just might get some mileage out of that. People don’t mind arms dealers making a profit from sales to one side in an armed conflict, selling to both is still a no-no in the minds of most people.

      • darkcycle

        Oh, playing both ends against the middle… you mean like the ATF smuggling guns to Mexico and allowing them to be used to arm cartel members, then having a BP Agent slain by one of those same guns? Something like that?

      • i wasn’t using their financial interest as a reasonm to doubt the veracity of their arguments — the readily available government data easily proves that. what’s important about them is not their motivations, but that they are the ones screaming loudest about the “dangers” posed to society by druggies. for example, they are the ones authoring tons of the drugged-driving panic crap. and what do you do about drugged drivers — oh that’s right, drug test everybody.

  • Paul

    I have lived in Communist Vietnam for 10 years, and I have not ever been drug tested. Of course, it is actually more like wildly capitalist Vietnam, but this “authoritarian” government doesn’t dream up ideas like drug testing. I think it’s because it doesn’t have the money for that sort of stuff.

    I have long felt the problem in America is, ironically, the money. There is enough money to pay for every hare brained scheme some bureaucrat or hyperventilating church lady can come up with to interfere in other people’s lives, and more than enough to pay for VIGOROUS enforcement of every last wicked, petty, little rule.

    And since the church ladies and petty bureaucrats are the ones most enthusiastic about voting, they are firmly in charge. It is a defect in the American psyche which has burrowed into an otherwise sensible system of government. As long as there’s too much money available to government they will get their share and enact their nasty little laws.

    • Windy

      Actually there is NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH money, which is why we are 14 trillion in debt.

    • kaptinemo

      I agree wholeheartedly with Paul, as anyone who’s been bothering to read my spleen-venting would know. But as Windy has pointed out, our fiscal situation no longer allows for maintaining the insanity of drug prohibition.

      The problem is that most people – especially our pols – have never tumbled to the idea that the whole time the DrugWar was being waged, it was being waged with borrowed money.

      In fact, it could be argued that all money used to fund government has been borrowed from foreign creditors. Indeed, it was discovered long ago that taxes only go to servicing the interest on the National Debt, and pays none of the principal. It simply can’t; there’s just not enough working Americans to tax. So Gub’mint must borrow, like Wimpy from the Popeye comics, again and again and again.

      So…if the money spigot from foreign countries were ever reduced or shut off, truly massive cuts in spending on government’s part would be required. This, then, is the real reason behind the recent and ongoing furor over raising the debt ceiling. Far too many pols mistakenly believe that the amount of government we presently ‘enjoy’ is a natural size, when in fact from a strictly fiscal view it’s enormously inflated, and bound to go ‘pop’ with devastating consequences…for many dependent upon it for their physical survival.

      In short, we’ve come down to the classic ‘guns or butter’ argument. Those who are of the imperial mindset want to maintain the present imperial overreach this country is engaged in around the world, meddling in various geopolitically important areas, maintaining a huge military, etc. at the expense of domestic spending programs, such as social safety nets.

      Of course, since their precious DrugWar was, in fact, the foundation for building the framework of the kind of home-grown fascism necessary to keep control of the population needed when things (inevitably) start to go sour economically, the Powers-That-Be have always seen it as being something critical and worthy of funding, so it keeps getting the nod. And so long as so-called ‘progressives’ refuse to see this elephant in the living room, and refuse to act against it, it is allowed to continue despite its’ destructiveness of civil liberties.

      But push is coming to shove, now; it’s becoming obvious to even the dimmest bulb in the American cultural box that we can’t keep this up anymore. It’s triage time, and regardless of whatever the idiots in Warshington think or not, there’s no dodging the fiscal knife this time. The time is coming when real, hard debate in this country is needed as to what we can afford as a nation…and what we can’t. And we never really could afford the DrugWar.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      What are you talking about, enough money? We not only had to borrow every penny squandered on the epic failure of public policy which we call the war on (some) drugs, we’re now borrowing the money to pay the interest to keep those debt payments current. Try borrowing money from Citibank to keep your Bank of America debt from going into default and see how far that gets you.

      I read a story last year about a scandal in China where some professional entertainers were discovered to have enjoyed cannabis. Somebody dropped a dime and the authorities went out and made them piss in a cup. What a wonderful way to live.

      • Paul

        Maybe “money” isn’t quite the right word. Wealth may be a better term. One way or the other, America has had more wealth to apply to law enforcement for a very long time now. And so far, the SWAT team has continued to receive their paychecks.

        China and Vietnam aren’t exactly humanitarian paradises–especially China. Both countries execute for high level drug trafficking. But your chances of running afoul of the authorities in China are smaller than in America, and vastly smaller in Vietnam.

        Vietnam has only got about 30,000 people in prison out of a population of around 85 million. They are just not out to get you with the same enthusiasm and work ethic American cops bring to the job.

  • kant

    Not that I disagree with the teachers, but where were they when the students started getting hit with the random drug tests?

    While intellectually speaking I agree with them, I find myself not being sympathetic to their cause.

    • darkcycle

      Most of them opposed it, Kant. It undermines respect and sets up an oppositional relationship. Instead of being trusted and sought out for advice, it places the teacher in the position of being the arm of arbitrary authority. It sets up a situation where the teacher is looked at as the policeman, instead of being the “in loco parentis” confidant. Nobody but drug testing companies, administrators, school boards and hysterical parents supported that crap.

  • Servetus

    What about the popular teacher who uses medical marijuana because her life depends on it? Does she deserve to be tested? The right to privacy is defined by situations like this. It is a right to life.

    As countless studies have indicated, and despite any prohibition hysteria that argues otherwise, marijuana is not an impairing drug. Nonetheless, marijuana use is treated as a crime masquerading as a health issue while long ago originating as a some kind of mortal sin.

    I’ve always marveled at politicians who pick fights with teachers. What could the ill-fated politician be thinking? It’s easy enough to heap scorn and gratuitous punishment onto prisoners, the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, because these people are usually soft targets who can’t fight back. But teachers? Teachers are educated. They read books. They know everybody. They have lots of friends. Teachers have probably dumped more state politicians than anybody else on the planet. We’re seeing them in action again at Illini Bluffs. I congratulate them this time around and wish them every success.

    • darkcycle

      “But teachers? Teachers are educated. They read books. They know everybody. They have lots of friends. Teachers have probably dumped more state politicians than anybody else on the planet.”
      Well said, Servetus.

  • Cliff

    Welcome to the struggle brothers and sisters. Be ready to do whatever job you can get your hands on to survive. At least you will be able to get a good night sleep with a clear conscience and no piss tasting busy bodies waiting for you to pee for pay like a trained seal. Sometimes the price for cognitive liberty is paid in sweat and hard work.

    • darkcycle

      It won’t hurt to work on your gardening skills and cultivate every square inch of ground you can get your hands on.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    If urine testing annoys you I highly recommend a product called QuickFix Plus which is fool proof in the case of unobserved testing, down to the included temperature strip and chemical hand warmer so that you can present a sample that’s in the correct temperature range. It’s just synthetic urine, none of those fraudulent magic potions which also require a couple of gallons of water which of course is their “secret ingredient.” http://www.urineluck.com if you’re interested. I’ve got no business affiliation to disclose.

    Oh BTW, if you can connect the urine testing cabal to this company please, do tell. Synthetic urine is what they use to calibrate their machines for testing so it really isn’t much of a stretch.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Where did the edit function go?

      • Sorry, Duncan. I had to disable the edit function temporarily because it conflicted with the cache plug-in I had to install to try to reduce memory usage. I’ll try to find time this weekend to resolve it and get it back – it’s definitely a useful feature.

        • darkcycle

          Pete, if it eats alot of memory leave it out. It got slow there while you were having problems and kept sending “stack error” messages anyway.

        • darkcycle

          P.S. holler if you need another cash infusion, I’ll do better next time, promise!

    • Swooper420

      Well, I’d be careful about advocating the use of purchased urine for a drug test….The states have caught on and are making it a crime to attempt to deceive a drug test.

  • Maria

    “One trusts most central Illinoisans would find it a wholly unreasonable, intrusive, unwarranted nuisance in what’s touted as a free society.”

    I fear that’s a highly misplaced and naive trust, judging from online comments, poll results, and how ubiquitous these sorts of “If you got nothing to hide, why are you against it?” laws, policies, and actions are becoming. I trust the public about as far as I can throw it.

  • DdC

    Illini Bluffs Teachers Approve Contract
    The district issued multiple press releases claiming the teachers’ stance against random drug testing had a weak base, and the teachers pointed out no other teachers’ contract in Illinois allowed random drug testing. The teachers called the demand from the district a power play intended to weaken or break the union and held a well-attended community rally as well, at which State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, spoke in support of the teachers.

  • I have read them all, filtered out the filth, ignored the ignorant, sympathified with the pathetic, dumped the advice of the dummies and made my decision. If I was responsible for the success and management of a business,or organization, in any way, I would not hesitate testing them for drugs or alcohol, I would double check their credit and personal habits and hire them, and pay them what they are worth, not what some guy in the union hall says.