Pubdate: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News Contact: http://amarillonet.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/13 Bookmarks: http://www.mapinc.org/lockney.htm (The Lockney Policy) http://www.mapinc.org/testing.htm (Drug Testing) http://www.mapinc.org/youth.htm (Youth) DRUG-TESTING POLICY SUPPORTS LOCAL CONTROL Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a controversial 5-4 decision allowing public school districts to conduct drug tests of students participating in extracurricular activities. Such tests have fostered a national debate over the past few years. Opponents of the drug-testing procedure were quick to predict the mass erosion of rights and privacy as school districts across the country jumped on the drug-testing bandwagon. Some have, and some have not, but at least school districts now have the authority to determine their own needs. Rather than giving school districts unbridled power, the Supreme Court granted school administrators, staff and parents the opportunity to determine for themselves what is best for a school and community. This is apparent in Lockney, where the school board Tuesday unanimously approved a drug-testing policy for students in grades 7-12 who choose to participate in extracurricular activities. Note the word "choose." Students also "choose" to represent their schools at athletic and academic events as a privilege, not a right. The decision reinstated a similar policy in Lockney that was enacted in February 2000, but was later declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. The ruling by the Supreme Court changed that misperception. Lockney officials described the policy as a "deterrent." It may very well be. However, this is for school administrators, along with teachers, parents and community leaders, to decide. Those who fear the loss of misperceived student rights have missed the big picture - that local control of school policy decisions is preferable to government mandates, whether the implementation of student drug-testing is considered.