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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Drug testing ruling should include all

Friday, June 28, 2002

"I have no opposition to random drug testing"

A couple of years back, I argued with school officials over the policy of random drug testing for student athletes. The Supreme Court had ruled on an Oklahoma case that student athletes could be randomly tested so the school system was certainly on firm legal footing. But my argument centered on the fairness of testing athletes as opposed to the entire student body. I argued that although student athletes were not immune to drug usage, other students who did not participate in athletics may be as susceptible if not more so.

Well the Supreme Court came along this week and ruled that not only can student athletes be randomly tested but so can any student involved in any extracurricular activity. Again, and for the very same reason, I disagree.

I have no opposition to random drug testing. In fact, as sad as it may be, random testing might go a long way toward addressing a continued expansion of dangerous drugs in our society. So let's be perfectly clear - I have no problem with random testing of students for drugs.

But I would expand the notion. I have a suspicion that those students who hang around the fringes of schools everywhere before the morning bell rings may too be potentially part of the drug culture. That does not apply to all students of course. I was riding with a Public Safety officer here one day over the lunch hour and was told to observe a group of students congregating near the school. These kids were not involved in sports or extracurricular activities to my knowledge. But after observing them, they were certainly involved with drugs.

If we're going to test students randomly, test the entire student body in that manner. Why single out those active kids who seek to represent their school in sports? Why single out choir members or Future Farmers of America students? These seem in general terms to be the type of students who may actually be the least likely to abuse drugs. And yet we single them out for testing.

The conservative viewpoint would agree with the court's decision this week. But I argue that the true conservative viewpoint is to support random drug testing for all students. And I strongly suspect the high court will soon follow in that direction.

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