Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jul 2002
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2002 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: James B. Gierach


James B. Gierach

Oak Lawn -- The U.S. Supreme Court has expanded the right of school 
officials to drug test the schoolchildren of America ("Wider school drug 
tests upheld," Page 1, June 28). The court ruling will allow testing of 
students as a condition to their participation in extracurricular 
activities, and the testing may be compelled without any reasonable ground 
to believe that a student has used or is using drugs, the constitutional 
standard for searches and seizures of people and places, a standard 
commonly known as "probable cause."

The 5-4 decision expanded a 1995 decision of the high court that allowed 
school officials to randomly test junior high and high school athletes in 
schools with serious drug problems.

This latest drug-war tool has been fashioned by the judicial branch of 
government, a branch that has repeatedly proven its fealty to the drug war 
by eroding constitutional rights and liberties formerly protected by the 
Bill of Rights.

The drug-war guilt on the hands of the high court is a probationable 
offense in comparison to that of the other two branches of government, 
where officials must regularly pander to the public for votes in order to 
be elected and re-elected.

After all, it is the executive and legislative branches of government that 
have brought 21st Century Americans, directly or indirectly, zero-tolerance 
policies, drug-free zones, "just say no" campaigns, drug-war foreign aid, 
harsher penalties, prison overcrowding, a medieval prison construction 
boom, lottery school-finding, drug- testing in the workplace, school metal 
detectors, military-style drug raids on homes and businesses, asset 
forfeiture, D.A.R.E. drug- instruction in the classroom, and the 
pseudo-virtues of intolerance and informant-based law-enforcement.

What are parents who disagree with the drug-testing of their kids to do? 
Write their congressmen?

Parents have few choices: Run for the school board, love it or leave it, 
pull the kid out of school-sponsored activities, start a home school, move 
to another school district.

No, all of these choices are either impractical or punishing.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth