Random drug tests coming to schools?

Tue, 01/30/2007 - 5:04pm
By: John Thompson

Students who park on campus or participate in extracurricular activities could face mandatory mouth swabs; no police would be involved

The Fayette County School System could soon implement a random drug test for students who participate in extracurricular activities or park on campus.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Sam Sweat told the Board of Education during their Saturday morning retreat that the testing program had proven to be legally defensible and it was one option the system is considering to stem the tide of drug and alcohol abuse by students.

“It does have a punitive effect on the students,” Sweat said. The board has not scheduled a vote on the proposal.

The program would use a mouth swab, which is the least invasive of drug testing methods, for a random set of students on athletic or academic teams and students who have parking permits.

“At Starr’s Mill, we had over 800 students who were involved in different activities, so this would cover a large amount of the student population,” Sweat said.

If a student tested positive on the test, the student and the student’s parents would have to undergo counseling. On the second violation, the student would be off the team or lose parking privileges for 30 days. The third violation would kick the student off the team for a year.

In none of the situations would a positive drug test mean loss of academic time for the students. In other words, no student would be kicked out of school for testing positive for drug use, and no police would be involved.

Sweat said Upson Lee High School in west-central Georgia has started the program and it has proven to be a huge deterrent against substance abuse.

“In our county, we have a tremendous amount of expendable income, and this program could give students an out when faced with peer pressure to try drugs or alcohol,” Sweat said.

The program has also had great success at the state level. For years, Wayne Robinson was a fixture in Fayette County education circles. From starting out as a teacher to working his at to an assistant superintendent, Robinson saw it all. Now, he’s working for the state Department of Education in student support services. Robinson has attended numerous seminars about such programs and said all the results have been positive.

“Douglas County has implemented the program this year and is quite happy with the results,” Robinson told the local board.

Robinson said the program has been proven to be legally defensible and funding for the program often comes from the federal government in forms of grants.

“Some school systems are spending as little as $2,000-$3,000 a year,” he said.

The key to making the program work, he added, is getting all the stakeholders in the system to buy into the procedure.

“You really need to start at the school level and work with PTOs and parents to get your message across,” he said.

In fact, the random testing is a Bush-backed initiative and the Office of National Drug Control Policy has offered a publication for schools considering starting a program.

The publication outlines a step-by-step approach to getting started.

“Methods and procedures vary widely, but on average, schools with drug testing programs submit approximately 10-25 percent of their eligible students to drug tests each month. Typically, a school will test some students weekly, but there are those that test biweekly or even monthly,” the report said.

As schools start implementing the test, most schools use a computerized system to select students randomly for drug testing while others rely on a lottery system and pull names out of a “pool” of eligible students, according to the report. On test days, schools often select a few alternate candidates to account for absences.

The report also outlines the legality of the testing.

“In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a drug-testing program for students involved in competitive extracurricular activities, thereby expanding the authority of public schools to test students for drugs. Although the ruling allows schools to drug-test greater numbers of students, it is not a blanket endorsement of drug testing for all students.”

The report also outlines areas of concern for starting a program.

“There are four primary areas of concern that should be addressed in a school drug-testing policy: First, the policy should contain a statement about the need for a drug-free school.

“Second, it should have an introduction/position statement on substance use and student health, safety, confidentiality, and implementation of your student drug-testing program.

“Third, the policy should address the key components of the drug-testing program, such as which categories of students will be tested, how they will be selected for a drug test, what drugs will be tested for, specimen collection and chain-of-custody issues, how consent for testing will be obtained, how confidentiality of student information will be maintained, how drug-test results will be protected, and what consequences will follow a positive test result or refusal to take the test.

“Finally, the policy should provide a list of student rights, as well as an explanation of the school’s responsibilities to the students.”

During his tenure in Fayette County, Robinson often saw some of the best and brightest students succumb to peer pressure and get involved with drugs or alcohol.

“You just want to do everything you can to try and prevent that type of problem,” he said.

Robinson said students would not be reported to law enforcement officials if they test positive, and nothing would be reported to colleges or wind up on their permanent record.

“It really gives students an out against the peer pressure,” he said.

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Submitted by brooksdad on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:45pm.

What is the deal with targeting athletes and those participating in academic activities, and those that can drive to school? Am I missing something here? Not to defend drug or alcohol use with any student demographic, but shouldn't any testing should be done across the entire student population? Aside from being another waste of taxpayer dollars in government brainwash facilities, there is no way this will pass legal muster when, not if, it is challenged. Mr. Robinson states, "the program has been proven to be legally defensible". Where, pray tell? Apparently, it has not been challenged. My kid doesn't do drugs or drink (I know, shouldn't have said that), and I want to know if he does. But not by an illegal test. The means do not justify the end. What is also laughable is the school system family counseling. Are you kidding me? What happens when they (those giving the test) screw up? There is so much wrong with this. If they really want to stop the drug problem, bring in the drug dogs and take some kids to JAIL. Don't they teach supply and demand anymore?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 11:50pm.

Google "suspecionless drug search".

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 11:05pm.

I'm no lawyer, but if I understand it correctly, the reason that the testing would not be across the entire student population is that it would then be involuntary. By making it a requirement for students who want to participate in various programs, then the student must choose to voluntarily submit to the drug test, or choose not to participate in that extracurricular program.

Secondly, if a drug test comes back positive, you can re-test the same individual as soon as the first results are known. The second test is run through a different lab, to eliminate the likelihood of lab error. That's how it is done in the military and for professional athletes.

As for drug dogs, we are already doing that in Fayette County, and yes, it has resulted in some arrests.

Submitted by brooksdad on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 9:27am.

So is it involuntary testing that is the problem? This still makes no sense. Let's force a test because we can make it a condition of participation? I would contend that this is being (successfully) challenged in other states, by students and their families, as well as by prospective employees being asked to test before employment (I agree with employee screening). How about make it a condition of NOT participating in extra curricular activities? I submit to you that minimally two positive things would happen:
more kids just might aspire to something besides the mediocrity we are churning out, AND, you will apprehend an exponentially higher number of dopers. Why not just make it a condition of attending school period? A kid makes a mistake by leaving his landscaping tools locked in his vehicle on campus, or forgets a nail file in their purse, and will pay for that the rest of their life. You know, zero tolerance. But zero intervention if someone (oh wait, an INDIVIDUAL that may be trying to compete, excel, or otherwise rise to a different level of success...how dare them) is targeted simply because the administration thinks it can. Somebody think this through...something else is going on here.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 11:47pm.

Your response seems to miss my first point. I was trying to explain that I believe the reason it is not across the board is that an involuntary across-the-board program would be illegal. By making it a requirement for OPTIONAL extracurricular activities, the students would have to volunteer for the drug test in order to participate in the activity, so that testing can be legally done. Your idea of making it a condition of NOT participating in extracurriculars makes no sense. Let's say we did that. What would be the result if a student tests positive? This program, as I understand it, is not intended to be used for criminal prosecution. If the student is NOT participating in any optional activity, then what do you do to them when they test positive. What are the consequences of drug use in that scenario? That would be totally toothless.

I really don't understand your beef. This has nothing to do with some kid leaving landscaping tools in their vehicle and getting arrested for weapons on campus. It has nothing to do with targeting student athletes unfairly. It is all about discouraging drug use. You seem to be against that. Why??

Submitted by brooksdad on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 12:32am.

No, friend, I am against a policy that is not applied across the entire student population, and that has no real consequences. It must be all or none, it must strike fear in the heart. That is my beef.

But worse than this symptom we are so delicately dancing around, is why we have the problem to begin with. There have to be hard consequences (read, criminal justice system) for illegal behavior in the schools. I want my kid to be afraid of seeing the inside of the Police car and if necessary, the jail cell, if he makes the foolish choice to use, carry, or sell drugs. I want he or she to know they will be expelled, kicked off the team, or out of the club. That is called a healthy fear and respect of those in authority over us. It serves well those that heed its instruction. We have on our hands a generation of young people (and too many adults) that have no respect for authority, resulting in irresponsible living; and have absolutely no fear of punitive consequences. Toothless is the right word for this testing program.

At least they will know where to look if ever they become serious about stopping the trafficking (which by the way will curb usage)...on the bus, and among non-extra curricular participating students.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 11:25am.

I wouldn't personally object to a program that applied across the board to all students, but connecting it to the criminal justice system would be a bad idea. The whole idea is to discourage students from trying drugs and alcohol, and to identify the ones who are using them so they can be redirected before it's too late. When you involve the criminal justice system, you create a permanent record, which can turn into a "scarlet letter" that haunts a person for the rest of their life. Obviously, some offenses merit that consequence, but I really wouldn't want to introduce a random drug screening of high school students that would result in permanent criminal records for them. That would be a clear violation of "unreasonable search and seizure" protections, and it would unnecessarily mark their futures.

For example, I'm aware of a man who recently lost his job because of a relatively minor criminal conviction that occurred 15 years earlier, when he was a teenager. It was a misdemeanor, but it came up in a background investigation, and he lost his job.

I agree with you about the need for teaching teenagers that there are consequences for illegal behavior, but the consequences should be proportional, not all or none. The first step is to create an atmosphere where drugs and alcohol are seen by teenagers as "bad news". We have not yet accomplished that. We give them lip service, but most of them just tune it out. Secondly, we need to identify who is using drugs/alcohol and do what is necessary to make them stop, preferably before their lives are ruined. If the threat of banning them from extracurricular activities or driving on campus would discourage a significant number of them from dabbling in drugs/alcohol, then the program would be far preferable to "busting" the same individuals and marking them with criminal records. This won't stop the ones with serious drug/alcohol problems, but it should influence the larger number of teens who are not yet hooked.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 5:31pm.

I’ve been pondering this article all day now and I think I’ve arrived at an amicable solution.

I will authorize the Fayette County BOE to test my child for drugs only if and only if these conditions are met:

1. All faculty and staff, including the members of the BOE, are required to be randomly selected to take the same test such that every one of them is screened at least once every two months.

2. All faculty and staff, including the members of the BOE, are required to take the test for alcohol consumption every Monday.

3. The community parents and the Fayette County BOE, together determine the policy(s) and procedures that are to be used. The students should probably have a say as well.

If the intent of testing school children is to make the school environment safe, then I see no reason not to test those we are intrusting our children’s safety.

The only difference is that if ANY faculty or staff, including the members of the BOE test positive, the police get notified immediately. These people occupy a position of public trust and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law of they break it. By law I have to entrust these people with the safety and wellbeing of my child five days a week.

If you think I’m over the top on this one, read the following articles.

Wednesday , January 31, 2007
Drugs Found in Teacher's Truck

Wednesday , January 31, 2007
7 NOVA teachers arrested for possessing cannabis, cocaine

Cedartown substitute teacher arrested for drugs on campus

Jan 30, 2007
Cheerleaders. Soldiers. Booze. Sex.

Do teachers have a difficult job, yes. So do I.

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:13pm.

The first major flaw with that logic is: It is legal for a teacher to drink but not a student.

Item one: happens, but not every two months. Even a single DUI can result in losing your career and teaching credentials.

Item two: makes no sense since it is legal for a college educated adult to drink alcohol on the weekends but not a teenager in high school.

Item three: is why parents are not usually involved in the process since you have an emotional component that clouds (some of) your judgment. Item three is also why we face such a serious teacher shortage both locally, statewide, and nationally.

The articles you posted are clearly the exception and not the rule. In one case, you cite NOVA (college) teachers that smoke dope...wow ... what a shocker - college teachers smoking dope!

The 'substitute teacher’ is just that - a non-professional, non-certified person.

Of course the others are an embarrassment to the profession or soldiering, to teaching and to students who cheerlead - but what is your point?

Is there a profession that does not have a small number of people who drink, do drugs, or need some help? If so, I want to know who they are?

Your logic not only has the inmates running the asylum with students determining how, if, and when to test, but your logic also implies that we should spend yet more money, and more lost instructional time, testing the (of legal age) college educated adults (teachers) who have attained the highest average level of education possible, already been tested, cleared a background check, shown a pattern of resonsible behavior for many years (including the most dangerous teenage years)and come to work under the supervision of other adults everyday to a group of kids who may or may not be old enough to drive, have never graduated from anything, are in the most risky behavior class of society, and are costing the tax payer over $7,500 a year each to teach.

And you don't think we taxpayers have the right to know these students are coming to school drug free? Do you want to know if other kids are offering your child drugs?

That was the long version.
Here's the short version:

Teachers and Administrators act in a legal capacity known as "In Loco Parentis" or "in place of the Parents". So I ask - do YOU have the right to test your kids?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:15pm.

"Item one: happens, but not every two months. Even a single DUI can result in losing your career and teaching credentials."

I’m all for testing teachers at the same rate the students are tested.
Do you know how often are they tested?

"Item two: makes no sense since it is legal for a college educated adult to drink alcohol on the weekends but not a teenager in high school."

What makes you think they don't come to school with a hang-over or still intoxicated? Because their adults they're allowed? I've worked in places where people drank Vodka for breakfast and lunch. Can you assure me that there are no teachers doing the same?

"Item three: is why parents are not usually involved in the process since you have an emotional component that clouds (some of) your judgment. Item three is also why we face such a serious teacher shortage both locally, statewide, and nationally.

The argument that’s been presented to justify these suspicionless drug searches is that the parents don't give a damn. That would seem to negate your argument as to the "emotional component".

Maybe things would work better if teachers and parents got together more often and decided things as a group rather than the BOE dictating policy to the people that pay their salaries’.

Public education is no shining example of your tax money at work.

It’s common knowledge that the teachers unions are scared to death that the voucher program will take hold and their kingdom will crumble.

Now lets discuss drug usage in this country.

Youth Drug Use Continues Downward Slide Older Adult Rates of Use Increase

"The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today announced that current illicit drug use among youth ages 12-17 continues to decline. The rate has been moving downward from 11.6 percent using drugs in the past month in 2002 to 11.2 percent in 2003, 10.6 percent in 2004 and 9.9 percent in 2005."

"Furthermore, drinking among teens declined, with 16.5 percent of youth ages 12-17 reporting current alcohol use and 9.9 percent reporting binge drinking."

"The baby boomer generation presents a different story. Among adults aged 50 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 2.7 percent to 4.4 percent between 2002 and 2005, reflecting the aging into this age group - the baby boom cohort."

It looks like adults, most teachers fall in that category, are using the ones using drugs.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't want it to appear that I'm saying that teachers as a group are more prone to drug use than some other group.

It is a fact that people in stressful jobs are more likely to abuse drugs than those that are not in stressful jobs.

Tell me, is a teacher’s job stressful?

"And you don't think we taxpayers have the right to know these students are coming to school drug free? Do you want to know if other kids are offering your child drugs?"

Try it this way and see how it sounds.

And you don't think we taxpayers have the right to know these teachers are coming to school drug free? Do you want to know if other teachers are offering your child drugs?

F.Y.I. The doctrine of in loco parents was imported from English law as a responsibility and protection for American teachers who felt the need to administer corporal punishment to students.

I wouldn't try to hide behind that if I were you. The law has been perverted beyond its original intention.

Here's my short version:
If the school system wants assurances that my child is drug free then I want the same assurances that the BOE and its employees are drug free.

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 2:54pm.

I assure you that I do not need a lesson in school law. I don't mean to sound like a know it all .... but I have been in more drug hearings involving schools than you will ever imagine. I would venture to say that short of Mark, I have had more experience with schools and drugs than anyone I know.

Regardless, since you are interested in school law, I would recommend you review the following cases at minimum:

State School Board Rules:

Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing: 160-5-3-.15
Student Discipline: 160-4-8-.15

State Laws:

Alcohol possession on school grounds: 3-3-21.1
Character Education: Character traits defined (mandatory instruction): 20-2-145
Delinquent Children: Notice of juvenile court proceedings to school officials: 15-11-80
Chronic Disciplinary Problem Students: 20-2-764 - 20-2-768
Suspension of license for unexcused absences, dropouts, misbehavior: 40-5-22
Drugs/Controlled Substances in, on, or within 1,000 feet of school: 16-13-32.4
Student expulsion for felony conviction: 20-2-767 - 20-2-768
Reporting juvenile drug use: 19-7-6
School Climate Management Program: 20-2-155
Student Codes of Conduct: 20-2-735 – 20-2-738
Conduct to be addressed in codes: 20-2-751.5
Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TAADRA): 40-5-22

Federal Laws:

Veronia School District 47J v. Acton (1995): The Supreme Court held that a school policy requiring all students engaged in interscholastic athletic programs to submit to random urinalysis testing for drug use is constitutional in regard to students' Fourth Amendment privacy rights

New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985): The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school officials do not need a warrant to conduct a student search. All that is necessary is that the search be reasonable. If the search is justified at its inception, according to reason and common sense, it may continue, provided that it is reasonable in scope, and not excessively intrusive in regard to the student's age and sex, and the nature of the infraction. However, the Court majority also noted that students do have Fourth Amendment privacy rights within the school.

Doe v. Renfrow (1979), Goss v. Lopez (1975) Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), AND MORE-

All of these cases point in one direction. It is not only the right but the responsibility of the schools to police their students and provide a safe environment. Kids have rights, but not the same rights, and kids should be protected- even from themselves. Mandatory reporting is not the only example of when teachers and administrators can be held liable for student and parent actions both on and off campus. On campus behavior can now result in parents being arrested for attendance, students losing driver’s licenses, and financial penalties. In Loco Parentis is not” hiding” my friend - it's the law. Corporal punishment is not the only application, not the primary application and most school systems (including Fayette) do not even apply corporal punishment.

The mere fact that you equate the rights of independent, successful, mature and fully grown adults with underage teenage children tells me you will never have your mind changed by me.

If I were you, I would talk to my kids about what they see in school, a lot.

When you have spent as much time there as I have - you may change your mind.

Personally, I have dealt with hundreds of cases most of which involve parents in denial. I’m sorry to say bad_ptc, I think you are naive.

I would love to see schools get out of the business of parenting, but not as much as I would love to see the parents get back in to the business. Meanwhile, we better get a handle on the behavior in our public schools or we will lose a generation.

Of course - that's just my opinion.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 5:37pm.

When you quote the decisions of the Supreme Court please try and remember those are the same people that ruled that a tomato as a vegetable because of import taxes or “special interest groups” rather than a fruit based on genius which all other fruits are based.

The thinking that because someone in power says “it’s so” doesn’t make them correct. (See Bush and Iraq)

What you and I along with several others, can do is to debate the pros and cons of this issue and perhaps both or neither will gain some form of education on the subject matter.

What has yet to be discussed or mentioned by anyone other than myself is “Where’s the Beef” to your argument that shows “suspicionless drug testing” will accomplish it’s stated goal, ie. reducing the numbers of young children that use illegal drugs. If wishing made it so. Prove it to me.

That local school officials premise their argument in support of a policy by stating only that it’s “legally defensible” and offer no other cogent facts leads me and apparently others to question their true intended goals.

I will gladly do additional research on the subject but I would bet dollars to donuts that what I’m going to find is that additional Federal funding for the school system is directly tied to implementation of some form of this policy.
Care to place a bet?

I could easily debunk you and anyone else in statistics that show that a “suspicionless drug testing” policy has NO impact on actual numbers of young children that use illegal drugs.

I understand the workings of the “law” but I’m rather proficient in the intricacies of statistical analyses.

From what I’ve seen so far the argument for the implementation a “suspicionless drug testing” policy will reduce illegal teen drug use makes about as much sense as saying removing all red cars from our roads will reduce speeding.

When school officials try and sell me a “load of goods” and say that it will only cost $2,000 to #3,000 for the entire county school system and I can prove that testing the athletes at Stars Mill HS one time can cost over $33,600 I’m left to believe that these officials don’t really have a grasp of what they speak.

”If I were you, I would talk to my kids about what they see in school, a lot.“

I couldn’t agree with you more on that subject. Interaction with my children and what happens to them in their daily lives is something I can take great pride in as I do it every day. I also have the benefit of my children having GREAT teachers that have taken the time to make sure that I’m kept up to date.

”When you have spent as much time there as I have - you may change your mind. “

Enigma, I’m very grateful that people such as yourself, yes I do respect your opinions, have invested their time and effort so that my children may benefit from it.

All I’m asking for is a “dialog” between the BOE and the parents. Is that to much to ask?

Submitted by myword_mark on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 6:29pm.

As a former school Administrator, (I was doing what Enigma was doing in law enforcement from the school side) I could not agree more with what Enigma said. The bottom line is that you can be proactive or you can be reactive.

You are betting your child's life on it so you better get it right.

As far as your cost figures (and I didn’t know that this was about money), you are assuming that the entire bill is paid for by the school system - it is NOT.

The school system's portion is only a few dollars per student. There is a substantial amount of federal money available for schools to do drug and alcohol testing, awareness, and prevention.

The 800 kids, if all tested twice, would cost about $3200 at the most. No one recommended every student be tested even once - much less twice. Regardless, that money could come from (for example) the parking permit sales which were about $40 per car when I was still working. (700 parking places would generate about $28,000.)

Insurance companies are about to begin offering discounts for young drivers that willingly submit to and pass drug and alcohol tests. I haven't heard anything about discounts for teachers willing to take the drug and alcohol tests though. Perhaps it's because many already get a discount for being a college educated professional workforce and a desirable 'group' to insure.

Gee, I wonder why insurance agents discriminate against the poor teenagers.

Discussion is good, testing is bad, but the real question is; is drug testing teens the next logical step in aiding prevention of drug and alcohol abuse among school students?

Ain’t technology wonderful?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 7:01pm.

I mean that.

I have many questions that both you and Enigma may be able to answer.

To start, please answer the following:

1. Does a “suspicionless drug testing” program reduce the numbers of young children that use illegal drugs?

2. Where is the number of children using illegal drugs come from?

3. What will it cost in terms of both financial and emotional distress? (If it really works, I don’t care)

4. What protocols are to be used?

5. What methodology is to be used?

6. Will students be tested for “steroid” use?

7. Will I, as a parent, have an opportunity to challenge a positive result, false or not?

8. Who and how will it be determined that the program is a success or failure?

9. When?

10. What is the goal of the program?

11. What, if any, other program(s) won’t be funded because of this?

12. Will the parents have any input as to the design and implementation of this program?

13. Will there be a review of the program?

14. Will the facility and staff be subjected to the same program?

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 7:35pm.

As much as I would like to be the source for all of your answers, I will defer and allow you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I think that is called the 'Socratic' method. I have researched it for years and you know where I stand on the issue.

Although testing has not been approved or planned in Fayette County, answers to most of your questions are readily available through basic research. Students take questionnaires in school during Health or English classes and self report - there's a hint for some initial answers.

You are really 'stuck' on treating children and grown, educated, responsible adults equally in regards to drug testing' and 'rights' so I will not address this issue with you again until you can move beyond that basic perverted logic.

Nowhere in the world (other than I guess your house), be it through laws, licenses or privileges granted do the same rights belong to children as adults. They do not, and they should not.

Teenagers do not physically, emotionally or chemically posses the necessary components to make completely reasonable and rational decisions in the same capacity as an adult.

You may want to research that as well – just to make sure I’m not a quack.

Many good and valid points have been made to establish the differences between children and adults and you have completely disregarded all of them. I can only assume that, given your logic, you will allow your children to drink alcohol at whatever age they desire, will allow them to drive a car whenever they decide to regardless of age (15-16 with restrictions, conditions, and attendance laws for school), engage in sexual activity (age of consent is currently 16), buy and /or shoot a gun (21) and will register the males for military service at say 12 years of age (18).

Bad, I can tell that you are a young parent and I must say, you are in for some major surprises in the coming years - especially if you stay in PTC.

Here are a few statistics for you:

over half of the high school kids in Fayette County drink alcohol at least once a week, over half have tried marijuana. 40% of all middle schoolers in grades 6-8 have tried alcohol and have seen marijuana. Most boys and half of all girls over the age of 15 have had sex and don't consider 'oral sex' as sex.

Now, if I can find all that out, why can't you?

Awe heck, start out by looking here first:

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 11:50pm.

"Bad, I can tell that you are a young parent and I must say, you are in for some major surprises in the coming years - especially if you stay in PTC."

Sorry to disappoint you Enigma but I celebrated my 48th birthday last December.

My oldest will be 20 this year. So if your powers of observation are telling you that I'm a "young parent" and that "I'm in for some major surprises in the coming years" I can see why you don't have a clear understanding of the current situation.

"over half of the high school kids in Fayette County drink alcohol at least once a week, over half have tried marijuana. 40% of all middle schoolers in grades 6-8 have tried alcohol and have seen marijuana. Most boys and half of all girls over the age of 15 have had sex and don't consider 'oral sex' as sex."

If you think your numbers are accurate then suggest you contact SAMHSA.

SAMHSA, is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system.

When you state “over half of the high school kids in Fayette County drink alcohol at least once a week” SAMHSA puts the estimate at 5.5% for children ages 12 – 17.

Among past month marijuana users aged 12 or older, 34.8 percent (5.1 million) used the drug on 20 or more days in the past month. The percentage of past month marijuana users aged 12 to 17 who used on 20 or more days in the past month declined from 28.1 percent (536,000) in 2004 to 23.1 percent (400,000) in 2005.

There are no statistics for those that have “tried” marijuana. I would suggest you search Google for “past presidents”.

“Most boys and half of all girls over the age of 15 have had sex and don't consider 'oral sex' as sex."

Pray tell, is the BOE going to try and force children to take a test for that too?

As you didn’t bother to read any of the information that I’ve referenced in pervious posts I won’t bore you with supplying any additional ones.

The basic facts are that I consider illegal drug use by any child at any age using any drug to be unacceptable! I don’t care if the numbers said it was less than 1%. To me that would be less than 1% to many. The same goes for alcohol.

What I am against is the BOE telling me what they “are” going to do to my child whether I approve of it or not.

You can quote Latin all you want that doesn’t change the fact that I have the resources to take them to court and get the answers to my questions.

I don’t have the objection to drug testing that you somehow perceive. What I do object to is being shut out of the process that will be used to create the policy and testing procedures the BOE want’s to impose.

The case you should have cited is: (more recient)

No. 01.332
[June 27, 2002]
JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Student Activities Drug Testing Policy implemented by the Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County (School District) requires all students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities to submit to drug testing. Because this Policy reasonably serves the School Districts important interest in detecting and preventing drug use among its students, we hold that it is constitutional.

The court didn’t specify “HOW” the policy should be carried out.

Do you really think the BOE want’s to get into justifying that the preferred method of testing is based on cost vs. accuracy?

Another point you were happy to skip over was my question about testing for steroids. If we’re going to be testing athletes any reasonable person would conclude that testing for steroid use is essential. By the way, those tests cost anywhere between $80 and $250 per test.

Do you know the most commonly abused illegal drug used by athletes is?

As per the US DoJ:
Once viewed as a problem strictly associated with body builders, fitness "buffs," and professional athletes, the abuse of steroids is prevalent in today’s society. This is an alarming problem because of increased abuse over the years, and the ready availability of steroids and steroid related products. The problem is widespread throughout society including school-age children, athletes, fitness "buffs," business professionals, etc. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that more than a half million 8th and 10th grade students are now using these dangerous drugs, and increasing numbers of high school seniors don’t believe steroids are risky.

If you’re going to test, then at least test correctly.

If the BOE isn’t going to test athletes for steroids because it’s cost prohibitive then the argument that testing athletes for other illegal drugs goes out the window.

Yes, I see opportunities for all kinds of fun with this at the BOE’s expense.

Submitted by myword_mark on Sat, 02/03/2007 - 11:15am.

Sorry bad_ptc. The man is right. First about you being a young parent. 48 is young my friend. I am sure your 20 year old will insist he is not young either. Beware though, even your oldest (20) is not out of the woods yet. I am sure he does not drink since he is under age, and I am sure that no drugs are being used, but be careful!

Secondly, the case that adresses the title of your blog ("Answer. because I am the parent") is this one:

Veronia School District 47J v. Acton (1995): The Supreme Court held that a school policy requiring all students engaged in interscholastic athletic programs to submit to random urinalysis testing for drug use is constitutional in regard to students' Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Parent permission is not a part of this supreme court decision.

That is not Enigma or my stance that is the federal law.

I noticed Enigma never said he agreed with any of this, many of us hope parents will start parenting again so schools can stop parenting.

You are certainly not required to spend taxpayer money ($over $7,600 per student per year locally) educating your child, but if you choose to - at great expense to all of us - you are not the only one who controls the circumstances.

The state, among other things mandates many things for you related to your children:

Mandatory attendance of school or documentation of home school
Number of unexcused absences before you (the parent) can be arrested and fined
What punishment you can utilize
Age you can allow your child to drive
Conditions under which your child can drive
Hours of the day that your child can be outside (curfew)
Requirements to participate in extra-curricular activities
Legal drinking age
Voting age
Requirements to be eligible for a diploma
Course of study parameters

and on, and on.

None of those require your 'permission' or give you your demanded answer to you questions “because you are the parent”.

Certainly Enigma is not required to supply you with these answers.

I would suggest at the very least you, if you wish to argue using statistics, that you go to the link Enigma provided to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism which you obviously did not go to and read to cite the statistics you chose to state as fact.

Here is just a sample from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

When youth drink they tend to drink intensively, often consuming four to five drinks at one time. MTF data show that 11 percent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, and 29 percent of 12th graders had engaged in heavy episodic, or binge, drinking within the past two weeks.

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings (For references, see NIAAA’s publication Alcohol Alert No. 67, Underage Drinking.

Drinking continues to be widespread among adolescents,nationwide surveys as well as studies in smaller populations. According to an annual survey of U.S. youth, three-fourths of 12th graders, more than two-thirds of 10th graders, and about two in every five 8th graders have consumed alcohol.
The survey is titled Monitoring the Future (MTF) and can be found online at http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/vol1_2005.pdf.

I will be the very first to say that you can say anything you desire with statistics. I agree with this famous quote:

“There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clements)

Regardless, while I hate to add fuel to the debate fire, surely you realize that you live in a community that has above average income and below average supervision. Kids also have access to transportation at a younger average age (golf carts). Parents in this community are often ‘gone’ out of town and houses are unattended. It is a common practice for kids to congregate at those homes.

But most importantly, if you don’t already realize that this community has an above average juvenile consumption of drugs, including alcohol, then nothing I say will help you come to that realization.

Now bad_ptc, here you have two men that after 20 years of military service spent at minimum of 15 years each working with this problem in this area (schools and drug enforcement)telling you that we have a serious problem and that the parents are NOT on top of it in this area. My concious is now clear, and like Enigma, this is a closed topic for me too as we have no longer have children in the school system.

Should the board decide to test - teachers aside - it will help at least identify some of the kids that need help and create an opportunity for them to get that help, along with the PARENTS without being arrested and criminalized.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:51pm.

Don't YOU want assurances that your child is drug free? The intent of this proposed program is to increase the incentives for students to NOT do drugs. If the price of participation in extracurricular activities such as team sports is that they have to stay drug free, then many students will elect to stay drug free. That's a good thing to aim for! Why not give it a try?

Your point on testing teachers doesn't bother me. I agree that teachers are in a position of public trust, like police officers and the military, so I don't object to some program of random drug testing for teachers. I'm a teacher who is prior career military, and I've been subject to random drug testing for most of my adult life. So that wouldn't bother me at all. However, Enigma has a point in that teachers are adults with different legal rights than students, so it would be pointless to test them for low levels of alcohol consumption or over-the-counter medications. If a teacher showed up to school under the influence, they should be terminated.

What really puzzles me is the reaction of several parents calling this an "intrusion". Don't they want to know? I would!

As I said before, if this program led to a criminal record for the students involved, then I would understand the objections, but if the consequence is to inform the parents of the result and remove that student from extracurriculars after THREE strikes, I really don't see what we have to lose by trying this.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 9:42am.

As a point of clarification, my child’s teachers are by far some of the most dedicated I've ever known. I get emails three or four times a week telling me what was done in class today and what's expected in class tomorrow. That takes a lot of "extra" time and effort on the teacher’s part. It also gives the teacher and me an extra comfort level such that if there is a perceived problem neither of us would feel awkward or hesitate to contact the other for information.

It's called good, in my case great, communication.

Now if the rest of the BOE would follow this teacher’s lead.

On the issue of “suspicionless” drug testing lets just say that reading the headline in the paper that said “Random drug tests coming to schools?” was a pretty blunt way of ”telling” parents what the BOE’s intensions are.

“Assistant Superintendent of Operations Sam Sweat told the Board of Education during their Saturday morning retreat that the testing program had proven to be legally defensible and it was one option the system is considering to stem the tide of drug and alcohol abuse by students.”

“Legally defensible” is what Delta Airlines management told their employees when they took their golden parachute money and paid a law firm $50 million to make it “legally defensible”.

To me that statement makes Sam Sweat sound like an arrogant SOB who doesn’t give a damn what the people that pay his salary think.

And this ”stem the tide of drug and alcohol abuse by students.

Where are the numbers? I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t any kids that do drugs or drink alcohol. I just want to see data that supports the implementation of a “suspicionless” drug testing program.

In most cases the data comes from the students taking an anonymous survey. A strong case could be made from extrapolating data from police reports but I’d like to check that math. The BOE doesn’t have a great track record for determining future student populations at newer schools hence the trailer farms at most of the schools.

“It does have a punitive effect on the students,” Sweat said. The board has not scheduled a vote on the proposal.”

Hell, the board hasn’t scheduled a meeting with the people that pay their salaries yet.

Are we, the parent’s, just supposed to “take what we’re given” and don’t bother the BOE with asking for the pesky details? NOT.

If you think I’m going to trust someone to administer a drug test to my child that could lead to mandatory counseling or worse and not provide me with the protocol details, you are mistaken.

”The program would use a mouth swab, which is the least invasive of drug testing methods.”

The “mouth swab” method is one of the least costly and also one of the least accurate testing methods.

”Robinson said the program has been proven to be legally defensible and funding for the program often comes from the federal government in forms of grants.”

“Some school systems are spending as little as $2,000-$3,000 a year,”

I find it disconcerting that the term ”legally defensible” keeps popping up. I’m left to wonder why terms such as “a proven method for reducing drug and alcohol abuse among children in the 7 to 12 grade level” or “schools that have such programs have seen an X% increase in test scores” or “the athletic departments have a higher win lose ratio in schools that have such a policy” were never stated.

The studies that I read indicate that in some cases the illegal drug and alcohol use by students has remained “virtually unchanged”. Some school systems have disbanded their “suspicionless” drug testing programs because of that.

“In fact, the 2003 University of Michigan Drug Testing Study -- conducted by the same researchers who run the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey -- found "virtually identical" rates of illicit drug use in schools that did and did not require drug tests.“

“In a guide published in January, Making Sense of Drug Testing, the two groups said that drug testing costs an average of $42 per student for initial screening alone.

If “Stars Mill” is going to test some 800 students just once, the cost would be around $33,600. What just happened to the “$2,000-$3,000 a year” figure?

It’s time everyone did a little homework.

The parents of school athletes might want to know if their kids will be tested for steroids.

Don’t assume that the BOE is only going to test for pot, alcohol and cocaine.

Okay, breath.

Boston University

In fact, the 2003 University of Michigan Drug Testing Study -- conducted by the same researchers who run the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey -- found "virtually identical" rates of illicit drug use in schools that did and did not require drug tests.

Suspicionless Drug Testing in Schools

“Most public school drug testing programs use a low-cost immunoassay urine test, usually costing between $20 and $40 per sample tested. This type of test is subject to many possible sources of error, and often is not sensitive enough to accomplish the goals of the proposers. Other chemicals can produce the same color changes as drug metabolites, creating a risk of false positives (examples: the metabolites of the common analgesic ibuprofen can react as a false positive for marijuana; the metabolites of poppy seed skins can react as a false positive for narcotics).”

Drug Testing Proposal, ACLU

“Drug testing also drains attention and money away from better programs to combat drug abuse that the District could be pursuing. The cost-benefit analysis undertaken in Dublin, Ohio, is a good example. Initially, the district tried drug testing at a cost of $35,000 per year; this tested 1,473 students in extracurricular activities, of whom only 11 tested positive. The school cancelled its testing program, realizing that it could instead spend the money on a full-time substance abuse counselor who could offer programs to all 3,581 of the district's students. The costs dropped from $24 per student to $18 per student.”

The bottom line is we all want our children drug and alcohol free. The BOE has not provided us with adequate information such that we can make a intelligent determination.

A “dialog”, an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, esp. a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement, between the BOE and the parents is greatly needed before any such policy is implemented.

ptcgv's picture
Submitted by ptcgv on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:38pm.

I have to agree with bad_ptc. What right do they have to test children? I believe they said beginning in the sixth grade. Come on – they aren’t Barry Bonds or Ron Mexico making millions of dollars.

I’ve always had a problem with the Big Brother concept since I read Orwell’s 1984 way before 1984. If any testing is to be done, it should be up to the parents.

Good parents and parenting skills will beget good parenting. Bad will beget bad. That is a fact that has affected every generation and will continue. Example: The Amanda Roberts article today.

Alcohol only stays in the system for 24 hours. You’d have to have a heck of a binge drinking endeavor for it to last longer. Drugs are a different story. Why shouldn’t teachers and the BOE be subjected to testing if they decide to test children?

The BOE AND parents should decide this matter.

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:56pm.

Wrong. There is no binging required. The EtG test, which screens for ethyl glucuronide, a substance produced by the body when it metabolizes alcohol is accurate up to 80 hours after consumption.

Click Here For Sample Information

Actually, schools in Fayette County already check students using alcohol breathalyzers and drug dogs. Also, every middle and high school also employs cameras for video surveillance.

Are you also opposed to those things?

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 6:11pm.

I thought faculty and staff already did submit to random tests? If not you are right they should.

ps: where is the dog.....and what is this current avatar supposed to be anyway?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 6:22pm.

I asked Cal, in another post, to check if there is a policy for the employees and if there is, to please post the results to date.

The avatar is the album cover to Peter Gabriel's "Secret World Live" CD.

I still have the "dog with a bone", just giving him a rest.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 6:34pm.

Every dog needs a rest.
I bet Cal will get to the bottom of this for us. They have answered requests for information in the past. They have better access than we do.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 12:59pm.

Good point about the DNA parent. I don't buy it for a minute that cheek swabs are easier to test than urine.
My main point however is that this random drug testing is just a method for administrators to use to make up for the sheer laziness of the teachers and staff. These people spend 180 days with our kids. They get to know who they are, how they act, and are trained to know when a kid is or has been sick or under the influence. Trust me; kids are not that good at hiding it. By random drug testing, the teachers are no longer responsible for watching out for our kids. It's just like the zero-tolerance non-sense: by hiding behind policy, the administrators no longer have to make any hard decisions.
By hiding behind random drug testing, teachers no longer have to take responsibility for our children's welfare.
Also, when did it become acceptable for the schools to monitor what our kids do off-campus and over the weekend? If the government really was concerned for the "small percentage" of kids who do drugs and have irresponsible parents, they should be placed in protective custody; (but they don't care).
1 more point: why is it the government's responsibility to monitor what our kids put into their bodies? Obviously, if the kid is impairing their or others' ability to learn, then the teacher should then take proactive measures. This excuse for the policy isn't being proactive, this is laziness.

Stop trying to degrade the liberties of our children and influence their acceptance of government intrusion into our personal lives in the future. My father did not give his life fighting for this country against socialism to see us squander our freedom for the comfort of a totalitarian state.

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 1:44pm.

I usually agree with and enjoy what you have to say, but you have hit the wrong nerve now! You have the unmitigated gall to say that teachers are lazy, that teachers should be proactive! Well here’s a heads up for you partner, teachers are very responsible for watching out for your kids. Yes teachers hear stories about weekend parties, etc., see the kid’s bloodshot eyes, unkempt appearance, evidence of cuttings, teachers hear, see, and read horrifying stories of depression, and what kids are facing at home and from their peers, yes, teachers are looking out for your kids. However, if a parent conference is called most parents will argue that their little darling would never do __________fill in the blank, they are angels and honor students. If teachers do not have parental support and cooperation what are teachers to do? What they are taught and allowed to do at home, teachers cannot change in the classroom.

Let me correct you about that 180 days, many teachers work well past the end of the school day and into the night, and weekends, teachers are required to continue their learning for certification. Teachers do not work 5 days a week for the 7 or so hours that kids are in school. Teachers work and are concerned for your children much more than most parents will ever know.

Not only do teachers have to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but teachers must be teach time management, accepting responsibility, manners, respect, prepare them for the real world and the future, be a nurse, someone who will listen, referees, mediators, the list goes on and on; not to mention following policy and procedure so that they don’t step on kids or parents toes – you have the nerve to question teachers looking out for kids welfare. This testing idea would simply be one more concern and responsibility teachers must accept because parents don’t.

A teacher must handle kids for 40-50 minutes of class time, when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 minutes without an IPod, Game Cube, movie, or whatever! Do not fool yourself into thinking teachers are lazy.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 1:58pm.

They're heroes doing noble work. I was a teacher in the Fayette County School system for 4 years. Yes, we made sacrifices and those that have made this a career have earned my respect. But this notion that we can't criticize those who have made sacrifices to make our lives better is nothing more than pity and a belittles those who make this their livelihood. Teachers, firefighters, parents who lost their children in the military are humans just like us. No better, no worse. They do not deserve our pity and as such, deserve enough respect to be called out when the are doing something wrong. You say calling this policy lazy is disrespect? I say you treating them as infallible figures is nothing more than elitism and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:20pm.

Let's see if I have this right the teachers are lazy because the school board has decided to do random drug testing???

The parents here are beyond lazy. They can't discipline the brats at home...they want anyone the teachers, the sheriff's dept. the police anyone but them responsible for their brats. That sounds reasonable to you??? Wow you must be one of the lazy parents then.

The teachers only job last time I checked was to teach!! They aren't there to discipline your problem kids, they aren't there to play life coach or social worker. Teachers don't exists just for the sole purpose of mollycoddling your out of control thug brats. That isn't their job.
If we had good parents here we wouldn't need to talk about drug testing.
I can see why so many people leave the teaching profession and never look back.....what a thankless job.

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:26pm.

Thank you - something like that is exactly what I'm trying to say. No I do not mean to put teachers on a pedestal, yes they are just plain everyday people, Cowtipn I agree with that. However,it is not the teacher's responsibility to raise these kid. If it ain't taught and done at home, it ain't gonna change in the classroom.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:34pm.

The teacher's job is to teach, not monitor our what our kids put into their bodies off campus and over the weekend. As I said earlier, they're trained to identify when a student is impeding his or others ability to learn and to take measures to correct it. My point is to let them teach and stop "mollycoddling" and intruding in their lives. You people are so caught up with my use of the word "Lazy" that you can't see my point, (or you agree with my point and just want to argue semantics). Now who's being lazy?

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:47pm.

I did get caught up in your use of the word lazy and teachers being used together.

It struck a nerve with me because I know many teachers and they are anything but lazy.

It sounds like we agree on one thing the teachers should not have to be burdened with this. It's a shame that parents don't become burdened with their responsibility of raising and disciplining their kids.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 3:19pm.

I am a product of the Fayette County School system and I was a teacher myself for 4 years. I have tremendous love and respect for our teachers, (and they're the reason we have the best school system in Georgia). I let my syntax and improper mot juste distract people from my argument and obviously offended some, for that I am sorry. I've never been known to have tact. Thanks for the banter!

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:13pm.

graciously accepted. Like I said in the beginning I enjoy your comments.

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:13pm.

graciously accepted. Like I said in the beginning I enjoy your comments.

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:11pm.

graciously accepted. Like I said in the beginning I enjoy your comments.

Submitted by grendlemom on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:44pm.

OK, OK, we do agree on the point, just the "lazy" really hit my ears wrong, I'll not argue semantics, we are on the same page, I stand corrected.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:30pm.

Ps: One more thing I forgot to add:......Teachers don't get paid enough to put up with the crap that they put up with from parents and kids. I wouldn't do their job for what I get paid, and I darn sure wouldn't do it for what they get paid.

Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 1:41pm.

Are you serious? Have you ever spent time in a classroom, observing a teacher teach a class?
I admire anyone who chooses to be a teacher.

Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 8:51am.

In reality some parents don't care what their little darlings are doing.

I worry about my grandchildren because of peer pressure.
So far, so good. They're great kids. I pray they stay that way.

Submitted by ptcjenn on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 11:35am.

This is just an awful idea. Who will be in charge of swabbing the kids, making sure samples aren't mixed up by accident or on purpose? Why is this the school's job now? What's next, mandatory birth control injections for all girls age 13 and over? I just can't even express how deeply I am against this without this little comment turning into a huge multipage rant.

And the cherry on top has to be that the kids who are involved in extracurricular activities, the kids who are least likely to do drugs, who are most likely to be worried about their grades and activities and what school they'll get into are the very kids being targeted.


parent's picture
Submitted by parent on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:30pm.

There is no way on this earth that I would allow anyone at any school to swab one of my children's mouths with anything. This is just another way for the government to intrude in our pesonal lives. They could be using this as a front to set up some kind of DNA database.
Our school staff members do not need added responsibility for something like this. They have a hard enough time just teaching the kids and making sure they are safe at school. Drug testing is not the duty of the school.

Submitted by jlyrgr on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:13am.

Wayne Robinson can't even control his own children. Frequent (EVERY day) drug use, partying, DUI's. His younger son has gotton multiple DUI's and never spent anytime in jail. What happened to 3 strikes youre out..oh yeah...we're in Fayette County. Daddy pulled a few bits of string and he didnt even make the police blotter.

Submitted by fayco on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:28pm.

Of all the comments I have ever read here this one absolutely is the lowest I have seen. I hope the staff removes this piece of garbage.

Submitted by jlyrgr on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:04pm.

crikey fayco, chill out. just statin the facts mate. I dont know too many other people who get more than 2 dui's and dont serve the time for it.

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 5:32pm.

Did you see #3 below?

Regardless, what does that have to do with this blog and why would you slander a family over the actions of one troubled kid?

The 21+ year old is responsible for himself and for his own actions- don't you agree?

Submitted by trustworthy on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:43pm.

Dear Jollyroger,
You are so misinformed! The boy about whom you are speaking:
1. Did not have his trouble @ school
2. Did have his trouble after he had completed high school (4 years ago
3. Did serve his time in jail and on probation
4. Did pay all of his fines and restitutions
5. Did complete rehab at an Atlanta facility
6. His father DID NOT pull any strings, in fact, he wanted the boy to 'do the time'. He did support him in his attempt to rectify the wrong that he had done.
7. His father did inform everyone who needed to know about entire the situation on the next working day - You must not be one of the people who needed to know
8. This experience was devastating to them, but they have moved on. The lesson here is that drug and alcohol use/abuse can strike anyone anywhere. It is a huge problem among the youth of Fayette County – we need to do everything possible to, at least, slow it down and to help those who struggle with addiction.
The skull and crossbones are a picture of YOU. A BONEHEAD (no brains – just the hard part left)

Submitted by GloriaG on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 1:37pm.

I don't know this family or about alleged accusations but if true what may have happened if the program had been in place? From what I have seen and heard, drug use can destroy many lives and every deterrent should be tried in order to get kids not to start. The screening procedure needs to be very secure and administered by professionals.

Submitted by ShortField on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 9:26am.

Without weighing in on the pros or cons of mandatory drug testing, I do want to look at one point here.... What is all this about "a tremendous amout of disposable income"???

If we have enough "tremendous excess" that we are looking for ways to use it, put some of it back into the taxpayers pockets!

Where is all this excess coming from anyway, other than out of our pockets? I appreciate the educational job that our schools do, but I resent that when too much money is collected it is viewed as disposable income belonging to the county schools instead of looking to reduce the excess on the next tax bill.

parent's picture
Submitted by parent on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:36pm.

If our school system has expendable income, why in the world do we have a trailer park behind Burch Elementary?? There are atleast 13 trailers back there! What's the school board going to do about this mess?

Enigma's picture
Submitted by Enigma on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 5:36pm.

Sam Sweat was referring to the large number of kids with time and money on their hands with little or no adult supervision. We probably lead the state in that category. Combine all of the family dynamics with the low cost transportation readily available for young kids (golf carts), disposable income, and large number of ‘traveling’ parents and you will realize that we have a problem here folks.

As for the attack on Wayne Robinson and his children, it was not only inaccurate and cruel; it was unrelated to this topic. Children have ‘free will’ and despite their upbringing can certainly stumble and fall. If you are not aware of this, either you do not have children of age or you are in for a great surprise. Even so, perhaps a program like this would have allowed early intervention.

As for the questions about trailers; trailers are here because facility funding lags population growth. The formula for building funds in Georgia is based on speculation and past (5 years) growth history. Anytime a school system is in an area of rapid (or exponential) growth, you will see trailers due to the funding formula.

As for the drug testing; I support random drug testing of student athletes. They are role models who use tremendous capital and equipment in their sports endeavors and tie up coaching and facility resources as well. At the very least they should be expected and indeed required to remain drug free if they wish to participate in extra-curricular activities and wear a school's uniform. There is an academic requirement, why not a drug free requirement?

In addition, I see that it takes THREE violations before a student is even removed (for only one year) from a team. There is also NO school related penalty or suspension. Clearly, if we wish to keep our children drug free, them being able to say "I can't smoke dude, I am playing baseball this year" might help. It certainly won't hurt.

But hey, that's just my opinion.

Gump's picture
Submitted by Gump on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:49pm.

Enigma, I agree with your assessment of the idea of random drug testing. Most kids are NOT hard-core drug users, and the possibility of random drug testing may well be enough of a threat to convince them to not even try the drugs. Most teenagers first try drugs out of curiosity, so if we can give them a good reason to NOT try them, then they never get started down that road. As you said, the athletes are role models for many other students, either for better or for worse, so if we can keep them "clean", it may keep a lot of others from perceiving drug use as "cool". This will not totally eliminate teen drug use, but as you said, it certainly won't hurt. I'm also in favor of the three-strike approach. As teachers, we often use that approach towards minor student offenses. First a warning, then a detention, then an administrative referral. It doesn't always work, but usually it does.

Obviously, safeguards would have to be put into place to protect the rights of students and ensure valid results, but it certainly sounds do-able. We've done random drug testing in the military for years, and for professional and Olympic athletes, so we know it can be done. Funding it might be an issue, but I'm sure that can be worked out. I think the main concern for parents would be their kids getting a criminal record through this process. I think that needs to be made very clear--that a positive drug test through this program is NOT to be used for legal prosecution of students. Otherwise, it's a non-starter in my opinion.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:59pm.

The school system doesn't have INCOME. They collect taxes, which is far from income. They are simply talking about the expendable income in Fayette County population in general and the kids can more easily get into trouble because of it in some people's eyes.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:21am.

Regarding the income comment. It's the income of the parents of the students they are referring to, not the School System.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:15am.

Should Schools Conduct Random Drug Tests?

The White House wants more schools to adopt random student drug-testing programs. NEWSWEEK talks to advocates on both sides of the issue.

By Alexandra Gekas
Updated: 6:13 p.m. ET Jan 30, 2007

"Jan. 30, 2007 - The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced last week that it will be holding four regional summits promoting random student drug testing in public middle and high schools. The controversial program, which has already been implemented in nearly 1,000 middle and high schools across the country, requires that kids submit to random drug testing if they want to participate in competitive extracurricular activities like athletics. The Department of Education offers grants to schools that want to develop or expand a drug-testing programs for children in grades 6-12, but decisions about whether to test and which drugs to test for are made on an individual school level. The testing is usually done by a school nurse with a urine sample taken on school premises. If there's a positive result, the sample is sent out for verification by a lab. Tests can also be done with blood or saliva. Samples are generally tested for cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, opium-based substances, oxycontin and, in some cases, steroids."

Full Article

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:42pm.

I knew I could count on you guys.

Submitted by GloriaG on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:55pm.

We should do anything we can do to stop kids from using drugs!!
I can see this stopping a huge number of students from trying and becoming addicted to drugs. I hope it is approved-I think it is a great idea and back it 100%!

Submitted by IMNSHO on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:40pm.

Why shouldn't the kids be subjected to random-drug testing? It's real life. Most employers do it already. If it stops even one kid from using, then let's do it!

I do, however, think the police should be involved if a kid tests positive.

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:39pm.

When I first read this my reaction was "bought time".
If you aren't going to involve the police or sheriff's office, why bother.

The kids will have a great time laughing at you, and their parents will do what they usually do......cuss you out for catching their angel wangel pies, and tell you it "wasn't their fault"..."they didn't mean it"........or my favorite......"we go to church every sunday"....or the other tie for favorite.... "my kid is an honor student" Yeah riiiiggghhhttt!

You all have fun with this exercise in stupid things school officials do to look busy.

Ps: if this doesn't involve the sheriff's dept. it better not involve my tax dollar either.....charge the parents extra to watch their "angels".

All Smiles's picture
Submitted by All Smiles on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 9:29pm.

For the most part, I think you are referring to the parents whose children attend McIntosh HS. This all sounds just like them and from what I understand McIntosh is the school with the biggest problem. Just ask juvenile justice. More problems come from students who attend McIntosh HS. I feel the principle at McIntosh wants to brush it all under the carpet...out of sight-out of mind.
I'm not sure if involving the police is a good choice.......sometimes they can go overboard. But then we have a zero tolerance at school. This zero tolerance should be enforced for drugs too. Maybe we should bust them up. Also something to consider, some of the drugs these kids use, meth/speed leaves the system in 24-48 hours; not sure if the test they are considering will catch it. My vote, BRING IN THE DRUG DOGS!!! My friends the dogs never miss a thing!!!!

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:28pm.

And here we go with government getting even bigger and intruding more into our lives. Who's to say our kids aren't learning to grow more and more dependant on the government to make their decisions and run their lives? Extrapolation of moves such as these create scary scenarios that morons like those in New York and Douglas County don't see coming. The problem is that this is being done under the guise of child safety that everyone is too scared to challenge. What's next; finger-printing all elementary students? As a conservative, I couldn't oppose this more strongly. But; as a realist, I can't help but think this is a fight I may stand alone in. I urge you fellow Fayette Countians to think before get behind this proposal.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 9:28pm.

As a Father of a 9th Grader, not sure how I feel right off the bat. But I can safely say, if I really disapproved, I wouldn't hesitate to remove my child from school and go the private route.

I could see a problem with mix-ups in test results to be the biggest obstacle. It does happen.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:59am.

JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

"The Student Activities Drug Testing Policy implemented
by the Board of Education of Independent School District
No. 92 of Pottawatomie County (School District) requires
all students who participate in competitive extracurricular
activities to submit to drug testing
. Because this Policy
reasonably serves the School District's important interest
in detecting and preventing drug use among its students,
we hold that it is constitutional."

The ruling says nothing about student’s who park a vehicle on campus being subject to drug testing. Additionally, it has been noted in various legal postings, that students wishing to participate in "School Field Trips" are not subject to this ruling as they are not considered to be "participating in competitive extracurricular activities".

I believe that the Fayette County BOE needs to have many open discussions with the parents and even the students before implementing any type of "drug testing" policy(s).

I would strongly suggest to the Fayette County BOE that they not attempt to force-feed any such policy(s) to the parents as was done with the school redistricting. Acceptance by a majority will no doubt prove to be the best way to go.

In order to help ensure community/parental acceptance of any policy(s) I would suggest that the Fayette County BOE form a committee consisting of equal numbers of “parents” and “educators” and that the committee would be responsible for:

a) Determine if a school administered drug testing program is desirable.

b) If it is, jointly develop a policy(s).

The BOE needs to remember that there are plenty of people with enough money to force the school system into court if they screw up.

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