Saturday, February 17, 2007

Our Schools?

Today was the School Board meeting where they allowed the public to express ideas on two issues: random drug testing and abstinence based health education.

First off, I am 100% in support of teaching abstinence in our schools. In fact there were no individuals that spoke in opposition of it. And there was some very lively argument. This, of course, does not mean that the school board will implement it but hopefully it is a step in the right direction.

As for random drug testing, I do not think it is the right thing to do in our public schools. There is no denying that drugs are a major problem but having this problem does not make this "solution" right. I am not going to write all day on this but I want to give a brief defense of my position. -- BTW I spoke out against it at the meeting and was very inarticulate :-(. Most of my points were well presented by another gentleman, so I felt okay after feeling like I had bombed.

Basically I oppose random drug testing because I feel it violates the rights we are guaranteed by this:

The Fourth Amendment to the United Stated Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.

If the school can produce "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" and a Warrant issued by a judge, then I think they can drug test. If not, then they may not.

Think about it this way, would you want random drug tests to extend to anyone in the city? How about random searches of the closets in anyone's house to check for drug paraphernalia? I think that most would say those infringe on our rights "to be secure in [our] persons, houses, papers, and effects". How then can we say that drug testing, without "probable cause" is okay?

According to the Supreme Court random drug testing is permissible for any student involved in any extracurricular activity or who has a personal parking permit. To this I would say that the Supreme Court is wrong. They have made other decisions that I also think are flat out wrong (you can probably guess what I am referring to). If our Legislature or Executive would rise up and challenge the Court this decision could be reversed. Also, why then is it not permissible for all students? Do you have more rights if you do not participate in anything?

I know we need to find a way to restrain drug use in our schools but I do not think that trampling on constitutional rights is the way to go.


Dale said...

This is one of things that I appreciate about you Billy...You are willing to stand up (when it's not always the most popular thing with everyone around you) and say what you believe. You go!

Now, I just have one question, do you oppose the manditory drug testing for teachers who apply for the job to teach our children? I don't see where that is different... there is no probable cause, no warrent, no nothing. It's simply if they want a job, then they need to get tested to make sure they are not a threat to those around them. Same with students, if they want to play, then they need to get tested to make sure they are not a threat to those around them. Think that someone on drugs are not a threat? Ask the local gas station clerks who were held up at gun point by a man who simply wanted money to buy more meth.

I agree with the random testing, as long as it is truly random and that if someone is tested positive - they are not only removed from the activity but that they are given the opportunity to be helped; not just discarded as "a bad apple in the bunch".

Just my thoughts...

Love ya man!

Nathan said...

I totally agree with you Billy -- actually you sparked a lively debate between me and my wife about drug testing, gun registration, and privacy.

To me, it's a simple matter of the ends not justifying the means. It may well be expedient and even beneficial to detect drug use in teenagers going to public school by using a random drug screening. However, that doesn't mean it's right. As we all know, doing good things for the wrong reasons is unquestionably bad.

You also have to consider the long-term consequences of implementing a wrong system. On the topic of gun registration, history shows us the problem. In Germany in 1928, the government required registration of every gun exchanging hands in the nation, which paved the way for disarming opponents of the Nazi party several years later.

In a similar fashion, a teenager could fail a random drug screening, and information could be stored on his file that could be leaked and used against him later in life. Yes, it could be beneficial for the problem to be discovered and confronted early in life. No, it's not right to obtain the information by a violation of Constitutional rights. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. God is capable of revealing things in His way and His timing, in love and not bureaucracy.

Nathan said...

By the way Billy, your link to American Vision is misspelled...