Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2008
Source: Whitefish Pilot (MT)
Contact:  2008 The Whitefish Pilot
Author: Jeff Bailey
Note: Jeff Bailey is a resident of Whitefish.


I have read all the documents regarding the Whitefish High School drug
testing policy, and I found them to be extremely fair and thorough. I
have also read the two letters submitted to the Whitefish Pilot in
opposition of the policy and found them to be weak.

First, let me say that I'm a father of four children, so this topic is
very important to me. Our oldest is in her second year of college, two
are in high school and the youngest is in middle school, and they all
support the implementation of this policy.

As a parent, I know that being involved in our children's lives is the
best way to help them make good decisions. Additionally, I welcome
drug and alcohol testing as I would a call from a concerned parent,
teacher or friend. I believe it will have a positive influence on
reinforcing our children's good decisions.

The motive set forth in the opening paragraph of the proposed policy
is both clear and concise: "Students participating in any athletic
activity and/or extra-curricular activity represent the community, the
school and their peers. When a participant uses illegal substances
and/or alcohol, such use impinges upon the team's motivation,
cohesiveness and performance. As a result, the well being of the
individual, the team and the general school community is diminished by
the participant's use of illegal substances and/or alcohol."

Contrary to what was presented in the letter submitted by Andy Hudak,
the concept is not extremely complex but rather straightforward and
simple. If you test positive, you're busted and you can't participate.
If you test negative, you retain the privilege to participate with
those who have respect for themselves, others and the law.

It's cause and effect. If I choose to jump off a cliff, I die. If I
don't want to die, I don't jump. It's my choice.

Somewhere in our quest to become more "enlightened," we discarded the
concept of using a negative consequence to achieve a positive outcome.
In our family, we call it "trust with accountability."

It works like this -- they want to spend the night at friend's house
(who we know), fine. After we talk with the parents to make sure
everyone's on the same page, I tell them that I may stop by or perhaps
just drive by the house to checkup. Now, do I trust them? Yes, or I
wouldn't let them go in the first place. Do I checkup every time? No.
It's enough that they know that I just might.

We accept "trust with accountably" on a daily basis. We are trusted
with driving the speed limit, and yet the police have speed detectors.
We're trusted with paying taxes, and yet there are audits. Do we live
in a trustworthy manner voluntarily or because we are well aware of
the consequences should we choose to violate that trust? For most of
us, it's both. Where we get into trouble is when we try to remove the
consequences of poor decisions, and by doing so we have done our youth
a grave disservice.

When we remove the natural consequences of poor personal choices, we
eliminate the positive benefits of what otherwise would serve as
"speed bumps" or even "detours" to poor choices. For example, birth
control so our youth can engage in premarital sex without the possible
consequence of a pregnancy; condoms so our youth can avoid the
possibilities of contracting STDs; radar detectors so they don't
receive a speeding ticket. And yes, objecting to random drug and
alcohol testing. I could list others, but I think you get the point.

Probably the most popular objection to drug testing is the phrase
"invasion of privacy." But is there a distinction between one's
"privacy" and "things done in private," and are they equally protected?

For example, individuals would need their privacy protected with
regards to personal information that could be used to harm them (i.e.
financial or health, etc.). However, in general, "things done in
private" tend to carry negative connotations.

Want proof? What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think
of "things done in private"? Private, why? Because we don't want
others to know, and why don't we want others to know? Usually because
its something we shouldn't be doing and we know it's wrong. Of course,
we all know there are exceptions, but if you're totally honest, you
know what I'm talking about.

Do we have the right to privately abuse a pet, make meth, pirate DVDs
or CDs? No. So what "form" of privacy are they trying protect for our
youth and why?

Andy Hudak mentioned "fear" a number of times. However, if you have
nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. There is one thing that
does, and should, supersede "things done in private" -- the law.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake