Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2012
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Record


Lincoln Unified student athletes and cheerleaders now face mandatory,
random drug testing under last week's 4-to-1 decision of district trustees.

The first-in-the-area policy has the admirable goal of stopping drugs
and alcohol use by Lincoln High's athletes and cheerleaders. Somehow
these students are thought more vulnerable and indeed 21 percent of
the 219 drug and alcohol-related suspensions in the last three years
have involved athletes and cheerleaders, according to district officials.

We're troubled, however, by government policies that infringe the
rights of many because of violations of a few. If police set up a
roadblock and began randomly searching vehicles most assuredly they
would find contraband or evidence of some illegal activity. But at
what cost to privacy and convenience would such a policy be to those
just innocently and legally driving along?

Citizens - and even minor aged students are citizens - have a right to
be left alone.

If an athlete or cheerleader, for that matter if any student, is found
using or possessing drugs or alcohol on a school campus, the penalty
should be swift and severe.

But that requires evidence and that, without a doubt, is much harder
to come by than simply applying to all what amounts to a presumption
of guilt.

Now that Lincoln trustees have adopted this ill-advised policy, we
would suggest that district administrators be required to document
over the months ahead that it is accomplishing the lofty goal of
ending drug use among this select group of students. And if they
cannot factually do that, trustees should rethink this policy.
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