Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jul 2002
Source: Courier News (NJ)
Copyright: 2002 IN Jersey.
Author: Joan Z. Greiner


So, Mr. David Evans would have you believe that random drug testing 
protects our children. He claims the following in his recent letter: "Drug 
testing is a proven and cost-effective deterrent to drug use. It is used in 
the military and the workplace and has proven its value." Really? What is 
the specific value proven?

Prior to filing a lawsuit with several other parents against Hunterdon 
Central over its random drug testing policy, I sat with Mr. Evans, who is 
an attorney; a marketing director from Roche; and a drug-testing consultant 
who is an expert on drug testing in the military. One of my very first 
questionswas: How do you know drug testing is a deterrent? It seemed too 
simple a solution for such a complex, human problem. And after all, if we 
are going to pare away the constitutional protections of our citizens, we 
should at least know such a scheme is necessary and fail-safe. I was told 
by the expert in military drug testing that:

- - corporations are secretive and will not share their testing information, 
an observation to which the marketing director from Roche concurred;

- - for drug testing to be a deterrent, the odds must be as high as 1 in 2 
that a person will be tested on any given day Unlike non-users, drug 
abusers will play the odds they will not be tested, given that they are 
risk-takers. Testing five or 10 students a week out of 2,000 is not 
comprehensive enough to claim the testing program is a deterrent.

Thus far our case against Hunterdon Central has been heard at the Superior 
and appellate court levels. Mr. Evans attended at least one of those 
hearings. At these hearings, Central's attorney offered no data to support 
Mr. Evans' statements. The only response ever offered to support the 
wishful thinking that drug testing is a deterrent at Hunterdon Central is 
the barely audible murmur that the so-called evidence is anecdotal (The 
sweeping loss of students' constitutional protections contingent on some 
sort of anecdotal evidence seems to be no moral issue for these folks, 
students being the current group in our country who are not really full 
citizens). Perhaps you, readers, can understand why I was amazed by Mr. 
Evans' grandiose claim.

It takes no Einstein to figure out that if a student does not want to be 
drug tested, all he or she needs to do is not join after-school activities 
like countless others who do not want to relinquish their privacy 
protections. So drug abusers can continue merrily abusing. Additionally, 
the complexion of our public schools will, of course, change as students 
turn away from schools to protect their privacy. Convinced by advocates, 
such as Mr. Evans, that testing works, school administrators and parents 
can fiddle as Rome burns. Be that as it may, Mr. Evans still applauds the 
loss of constitutional protections for thousands and thousands of innocent 
students for what proven gain? He plays a dangerous game.

The big winners here are attorneys such as Mr. Evans, who specialize in 
drug testing cases, and pharmaceutical companies such as Roche who happily 
and freely dumped slick testing cups and a marketing director on Hunterdon 
Central to get the ball rolling. What new markets await Mr. Evans, who 
graced the Supreme Court with an amicus curiae brief, and the drug 
corporations who have more lobbyists in Washington than there are members 
of the House and Senate combined? Which group will they target next for 

Lauding a radical Supreme Court decision ( a 5-4 split) that disregarded 
traditional judiciary safeguards and defied the Fourth Amendment speaks to 
the simplicity and lack of depth of its proponents.

These supporters do not accept the heavy burden, the serious dangers and 
the great pride of being an American citizen. A courageous America is our 
strength. It will not last if we crusade to make America as safe as a 
mother's womb and let fear manipulate us into forgoing our birthright as 
citizens. As injurious as drug abuse is, it is not crippling the state or 
nation by any stretch of the imagination. We are a healthy, thriving nation 
acknowledged by the nations of the world as the strongest beyond compare. 
Wisdom and history instruct us that ever-present human frailty cannot be 
banished from any society by gimmicks and legislation. Wisdom and history 
instruct us that our Constitution is the basis of America's success. Let us 
not tamper with success.

My question to Hunterdon Central, Mr. Evans and the members of his 
coalition is: Why have they not instituted legal, parent-supported, 
voluntary testing programs in schools? Hunterdon Central, claiming to be so 
committed to its students' well being, was enjoined from forced random 
testing nearly two years go and has not lifted a finger to do what is legal 
and safe for everyone. When its budgets failed, it cut the yearly $15,000 
designated for testing. It always seems to come down to power and money, 
doesn't it, readers?


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