Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Record, The (Hackensack, NJ)
Copyright: 2007 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


THERE'S no doubt that drinking and drug use are significant problems
in some -- if not many -- North Jersey high schools. But sweeping
random drug tests are not just an overreaction, they are a frightening
violation of students' privacy.

Yet, River Dell and Lakeland regional high schools are expected to
adopt such policies next week. Under the policy, any student who
participates in a club, plays for a team and has a parking permit at
the school would be subject to testing for a variety of illegal
substances, including alcohol, marijuana, steroids, cocaine and other
drugs. Various suspensions from school activities, sports and parking
privileges can result.

A small number of school districts in the state have similar random
drug testing policies, and courts have upheld them.

We have no problem with the testing of athletes, since drug use can
unfairly affect team performance. We also support testing any students
who display signs of drug or alcohol abuse and clearly need help.

But random testing, with no prior evidence of a problem, is an
invasion of privacy. Schools should offer extensive education and
counseling on substance abuse issues. They should not, in effect, be
in the business of spying on students.
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