Pubdate: Sat, 21 Sep 2002
Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)
Copyright: 2002 The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Bookmarks: (The Lockney Policy) (Drug Testing) (Youth)

Drug Testing

WE FAVOR RANDOM drug tests for high school students - but only for
those students who have chosen to participate in extracurricular activities.

It is not that we would like to exclude high school students with no
extracurricular interests from drug-testing. On the contrary, testing
all of them undoubtedly would result in more parents being alerted
about festering drug problems of their children.

But the problem with testing all high school students is that it
simply would be illegal.

The law dictates that children must go to school. They do not have a
choice. Therefore, requiring all students to be subject to drug
testing would effectively mean that the law dictates the drug testing
of all children.

However, children do have a choice about whether to participate in
extracurricular activities. If they choose to set themselves apart, we
believe they should face the possibility of being chosen for a random
drug test.

Lockney's Policy Was Struck Down

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with us, but narrowly. In a 5-4 decision
that was returned in June, the high court upheld the policy of an
Oklahoma school to allow drug testing of students in extracurricular

When the Lockney Independent School District established a mandatory
drug-testing policy in February 2000, we respected what school
officials were trying to do but disagreed with the manner in which
they were doing it.

Their policy was challenged by a parent and eventually resulted in a
ruling last year by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings that the policy
was unconstitutional.

Time has passed, and now the Supreme Court has addressed the issue. It
is therefore both a logical and an appropriate response by Lockney
school officials that they have re-established a drug policy but
limited it to students who choose to participate in extracurricular

Not Just Students Should Be Tested

In fact, according to news coverage by the Avalanche-Journal's Linda
Kane, the Lockney ISD is patterning its drug policy after the policy
of the Oklahoma school that was upheld by the Supreme Court.

That was a good decision. Using a plan that has already passed
constitutional muster as a model will solidify Lockney's plan.

Drugs are a terrible problem in America, and not just in big schools
or in urban areas. It is safe to say that almost any school of
significant size either has a drug problem or a potential for one.

Drug testing serves as a deterrent for drug use and will allow parents
of children who are using drugs to learn about the problem.

But it seems only fair, if school districts are testing students for
drug use, that they also conduct random drug tests of teachers and

We would not expect many to test positive, but school districts very
much need to know about the ones who do. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake