Monday, July 30, 2007

Do as We Say, Not as We Do!

While I do not support the random drug testing of anybody in the good ol' US of A, I have to say I liked the proposal made by a Camden County Commissioner asking that all board members take drug tests. The reason behind Commissioner Mike Andrews' motion is that if the board wants students to submit to random testing, they should be willing to do so as well.
"We as elected officials are depended upon by the citizens of our county to be leaders and also to set good examples for the children," he said. "I make a motion that from now on all members of this board, as a show of good faith and leadership, submit to random drug and alcohol testing and that these tests ... be carried out by an agency outside of the county to prevent and appearance of improperness, such as the State Bureau of Investigation."
It's not surprising that the board members voted his proposal down 3-1. Why should they have to suffer the embarrassment of pissing in a cup while someone listens intently to every squirt and drop? Why should they have to be punished for testing positive for marijuana or other drug use? After all, clearly it is they're job to create these rules, not to abide by them. I think this shows just how backwards and hypocritical student testing really is.

1 comment:

JT Barrie said...

The problem arises with the cost of doing a test that results in low false positives. The one given students has a high incidence of false positives because the desired outcome is not criminal prosecution or loss of job. The result is stigmatization, intimidation [just having the test], and limitation of school activities.
While school board members are unpaid, they make decisions about spending millions in taxpayer funds and that position is a stepping stone to higher office where even more money is distributed. There is a reason why highly paid people are not drug tested: the cost of ensuring the virtual nonexistence of a false positive is prohibitive and the cost of false positive is much higher than for the minimum wage jobs that get the drug tests. A preemployment drug test just eliminates some of many candidates for entry level positions. It is just one of many elimination criteria. Zero chance of litigation. Failures in these drug tests are not widely disseminated. Failure in drug tests for teachers costs the person a career in education - at far more than minimum wage. For school board members it could end any political ambitions.
While a cheap 50 dollar test suffices for minimum wage jobs and students, the cost of a test for those making higher incomes is much more expensive. All professional athletes have to be tested again after a positive result. Sometimes a third test is necessary. And these tests have much smaller margins for error and cost considerably more. The DEA, who lack funds for propaganda, do not have the money to subsidize the kind of testing for teachers and school board members that would be necessary. They can only subsidize minimum wage/student testing. That testing is far less reliable and that shows how little regard they have for the value of students.