Pubdate: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Jeffrey M. Gonyo


RICHFIELD, Wis. -- Guilty until proven innocent. That's what many
public schools across the country are saying when they implement
random drug testing of their students who participate in athletics or
other extracurricular activities.

When Big Brother says, "You must provide a urine sample before we are
going to allow you to participate on the football, basketball, golf,
academic decathlon or debate teams," that's a destructive lesson for
our young people.

Mass searches without first establishing probable cause of wrongdoing
have been illegal under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for
most of our country's history. Schools should be teaching our children
this history.

If a particular student's grades have precipitously dropped, if he or
she is staggering down the hallway or if there is a previous criminal
record of drug use, then there may be sufficient probable cause to
warrant a drug test of that student. On the other hand, if there is no
observable evidence of wrongdoing, then the invasive testing of a
student's bodily fluids is an unjustified waste of taxpayer dollars.

Unless parents strenuously object to this type of drug testing, their
capacity to prevent school district officials from randomly probing,
poking and examining their children will be severely curtailed in the

Jeffrey M. Gonyo

Steve Young
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