Pubdate: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
Source: New York Times (NY)
Section: Editorial/Op-Ed
Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company
Author: Barbara Bernstein
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


To the Editor:

The Tecumseh, Okla., school board defends its policy requiring all students 
to pass a drug test in order to participate in extracurricular activities 
by saying the board does not want "to point an accusatory finger at 
individual students" (news article, Nov. 9). Does that mean that the school 
board would rather invade the privacy of all students than accuse one of 
using drugs?

The Fourth Amendment requires individualized suspicion before the 
government can conduct a search. That goes for school boards as well. 
Although the standard for searching students can be lower than for the 
community at large, it must still be individualized, precisely to prevent 
what Tecumseh proposes: a fishing expedition. The school board should worry 
less about soothing feelings and more about honoring rights.


Exec. Dir., Nassau County Chapter, New York Civil Liberties Union

Mineola, N.Y.
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