Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I kicked a vice principal's ass

The most recent issue of American Teacher, the official newspaper of the American Federation of Teachers, includes a debate between myself and a school vice principal on the issue of random student drug testing.

I tailored my pitch to the educators who read the publication:
President Bush recently requested $15 million for random student drug testing. School officials interested in the money are rightly concerned with keeping young people safe. But drug testing is an ineffective, invasive and costly procedure that can make existing drug problems worse.

Drug testing isn’t just contrary to common sense; science confirms it doesn’t work. A federally funded study of 90,000 students at 900 schools found no difference in drug use between schools that test and those that don’t.


In a time when school districts are cutting programs and teacher salaries just to keep the lights on, flushing money down the toilet on drug testing is unconscionable. Limited drug-prevention resources should go toward implementing education and counseling programs that provide students with the support they need to make responsible choices.
Not bad appealing to the audience, eh?

Vice Principal Alanna R. Huck, on the other hand, took the opportunity to criticize the federal student drug testing grant program that funds the testing of her students, claiming it doesn't go far enough.
Sensible implementation of drug testing is a key concern, of course. If Congress is to appropriate more money for drug testing, I believe that drug testing should be used for all students and not just for the extracurricular student population, as the current policy dictates. Drug use knows no boundaries and all students should be subjected to the test in order for a program to truly work. All students must realize that drugs have an adverse effect on physical, mental and emotional health.
Sorry, Vice Principal Huck, but you lose the debate. You didn't say anything in your piece that refutes the scientific study I cited, nor did you address the important concerns I raised about trust issues between students and school officials.

At the risk of sounding cocky (I don't care what you think anyway - I'm the shit!), I'm going to proclaim absolute victory. I simply kicked her ass. I hope my showboating doesn't get me called to the vice principal's office...


Micah Daigle said...

Jeeez, I hope living in DC doesn't inflate my head like that!


800 pound gorilla said...

Your "scientific study" is nothing more than the very same statistical correlation that is used by the DEA to justify their criminalization of drug users and is just as meaningless.

Despite the fact that in a real debate any 13 year old can kick butt on Johnny Cochran eggheads on the drug war it won't happen in a "school debate". The problem is that in a school debate there are several totally false assumptions that can't be challenged by reformers:
1] That the drug war has standards related to the drugs themselves and not the users and that banned drugs are more dangerous.
2] That using these drugs is more harmful to our society than the crime caused by criminalization.

The irony is that - since the drug war began - this society has increased it's overall drug use by well over double and that the biggest drug problem we have today is saturation. When I wrote my drug education curriculum pharmaceuticals had a list of "side effects" from use of the drug. Now they warn about using other drugs. They do this because drug use has multiplied that much since then. They have created so many new "problems" that require drug use that multiple drug dependencies is becoming more the norm in the same way that obesity is more the norm.

The fact that these two events happened concurrently is not likely a mere coincidence. Those in authority promote material indulgence and those who practice restraint won't use as many drugs. And if anyone has tracked political contributions every major political leader gets oodles of drug money.

Every health problem is a drug sale opportunity - including obesity. It's either drug sales or surgery. We promote quick fixes to enable an indulgence economy promoted to facilitate profits. As the ole geezer says "follow the money".