Thursday, March 02, 2006

SSDP High Schoolers Rally Against Drug Testing

Arguably the most disturbing trend in the war on drugs when it comes to young people is the expansion of random suspicionless drug testing of high school students. While most high school students oppose the humiliating practice of having to pee in a cup in front of their teachers, many feel powerless to take on the powers that be and actually do something to stop it. Those students can look to students at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago for inspiration.

An SSDP chapter at Francis Parker, led by Jeanne Barr, is leading a day of action on Friday, March 3 to protest a bill in the Illinois Legislature that would permit public high schools to implement random student drug testing of all students in extra curricular activities. The students are taking a courageous stand by rallying against this bill, and at SSDP we hope other high school students around the country will take notice and organize similar actions.

Below is a copy of a press release about the action.

Students Rally Against HB3554
and Random Suspicionless Student Drug Testing

WHAT: Rally against HB3554
WHO: Students for Sensible Drug Policy from The Francis W. Parker School
WHEN: Friday, March 3, 2006 11:30 AM
WHERE: The Water Tower

HB3554, which is currently before the general assembly, is designed to permit schools to require students involved in school-sponsored and school-supported athletic or extra-curricular activities to submit to random, suspicionless drug testing. Many schools around the country have already implemented these tests. These are specifically urine tests that are designed to detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP. However, they do not detect alcohol nor tobacco, the most commonly used drugs. The least expensive tests cost from $10 to $30 per student tested.

Studies show that these tests are expensive, ineffective, and a gross misallocation of scarce resources. Also, the tests endorse the erosion of certain constitutional rights and American values. The tests are dangerous in that they may lead students to use more hazardous drugs that are less detectable by conventional drug tests. These tests frequently provide false positives and detract from important educational funds. Additionally, and perhaps most poignantly, they are proven to have no positive effect in deterring any drug use among students.

Students of Francis W. Parker, a high school located in Lincoln Park, will be sharing this important information with the public on March 3, 2006. Their mission is to educate Chicago’s citizens about the current issue before the general assembly in Springfield and to encourage those who disagree with the bill to protest it by contacting their State Senator Kimberly Lightford, chair of the Senate Education Committee.

SSDP, or Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is an organization dedicated to involving students in the political process and providing education on the Drug War.

For more information, please contact Jeanne Barr at 773-213-2025 or


Anonymous said...

I think you mean "Students for Sensible Drug Policy" -- unless the strategic plan retreat resulted in changing the organization's name!

Micah Daigle said...

Nope, no name change, just a simple mistake. It's been fixed.

800 pound gorilla said...

I've let my kids know in no uncertain terms that they don't submit for testing on moral grounds. The War on Drugs is an immoral and abusive policy and testing for drugs is tacit support for this policy. All drug testing is immoral except for those tests that promote safety such as the drug testing that is done for truckers and other transportation people. Testing for performance enhancing drugs is also OK - although I've heard convincing arguments that there are other means of performance enhancement that work as well as drugs, can have harmful effects, and are not covered by sports associations.

Refusing to submit to drug testing should be a clear moral choice just like being a conscientious objector when called for military service. Forcing students to support a clearly immoral abusive policy through drug testing should be an issue for the ACLU.

Anonymous said...

800 Pound Gorilla (not sure what your real name is) -

Please contact me. I am producing a documentary on the drug war. Your commentary seems insightful and indictiative of the views of many regarding the drug war. I would like to have a producer get in touch with you regarding a potential interview. We are in discussions with an American-based public broadcasting network and an international network based in the UK to air the piece in May. Specifically, we are interested in your views regarding student drug testing and student aid for drug offenders. My e mail is

Thank you
James Baron

kris said...

I won't specify the irony here...

I'm laughing. Is anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Given some recent news stories, shouldn't we include teachers and adnimistrators in the random checks?

kris said...

No. We should stay out of everyone's urine, for cryin' out loud.

Anonymous said...

I hope these kids are successful in their plight.

Drug Testing in any form is a gross invasion on our rights.

Furthermore, as well all no, "random drug testing" is not random at all (at the high school level), the high school administrators specifically target certain demographics for how they dress, and who they hang out with, which is discrimination, and is extremely unjust.

Drug testing (with the exception of for those who fly air planes and drive trucks, etc.) is wrong and simply a waste of a school systems much needed economic resources. Perhaps, they can go all out, forget about buying these useless tests, and put more money into books, after school programs, and the like....

I would note that should this campaign not be succssful, I think those administoring the drug tests, should do some random drug testing on the teachers too, who knows what kind of good fun that would yield?

Anonymous said...

Kris, this is a very informative post. There have been a lot of rants against this random drug testing among our kids. But I think it is better than seeing them in drug rehabilitation.


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