The Zionsville school board has tabled, for now, a proposal to randomly test students for drugs. Those not familiar with such tests should realize they can consist of tests of blood, saliva, urine, or hair. Results can indicate “false positives,” and so a positive test usually is followed by another test to confirm presence of whatever the illicit substance might have been revealed in the first test.
One parent was quoted: “If you want to test my child, test my child!”
According to a report from Fox 59 News, twenty overdoses in Boone County have resulted in death in the past two years. The report characterizes this as a “growing” problem. There is no mention of how many, if any, of these 20 overdose deaths were by students in Boone County schools.
People have taken drugs for pleasure since the earliest days of civilization. Soma was a “gateway drug”—to enlightenment, in ancient religions in Asia. People indigenous to what we now call the continents of North America and South America took peyote to become closer to whatever supreme being or beings those people believed were divine.
“Drugs” took a big upswing with the 1960s and rock and roll. The 1970s continued the trend. Young people are curious. Others—young and not-so-young alike—want to numb themselves to existence.
The answer is not to erase the Fourth Amendment. The State—in this context organized governmental agents—needs probable cause to obtain a warrant from a judge or other judicial officer to then conduct a search. Because a high school student chooses to participate in an extracurricular activity at school—thus the student has “volunteered” to be subject to special policies the school otherwise would be unable to impose on just a regular student—should not mean that student has waived her or his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search.
Fear is the basis for this latest attempt at incursion on rights: fear of a child dying from a drug overdose. Never mind that kids drive and die every day—there is no outcry to ban people under the age of 18 from being able to obtain a driver’s license. A lot of kids die from accidental discharge of firearms—and DO NOT GO THERE, or else the NRA will be on your ass.
Life is filled with peril. Kids sometimes lie. Parents need to keep informed about their kids’ activities. They should not use the State to force their kids to urinate into cups to find out what is going on.
The corporations that manufacture drug test kits are more than happy—with dour expressions and nods of understanding about how serious this all is (although corporations are fictional entities and act only through their agents)—to provide the tests. The corporations make a profit from the kits. The corporation could not care less about “rights” involved.
The corporations also do not care if a kid is branded as a user of drugs and test results end up in the kid’s file to follow her or him for life.
For some, use of drugs and alcohol are rites of passage. (See: liberal arts colleges.) Nixon freaked out and declared a war on drugs. That war was lost. Drugs won. Now even more of our rights are to be sacrificed in this absurd attempt at control of behavior.
If I had kids, and I lived in Boone County—well, I would move. If I could not afford to move, I would be tempted to “home school” the kids—or take one of those juicy vouchers Indiana uses to gut the public school system. And maybe this is the future. Force people to urinate into cups, jab them in the arms with needles, question them about their “contacts”—all as practice for life in a police state. The future is here: we all should love Big Brother.