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Drug tests: in our best interests



Published: Wed, August 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a 5-4 ruling allowing schools to randomly drug-test all pupils involved in extracurricular activities.

The ruling has sparked controversy within school systems and communities, particularly in rural towns where citizens believe their schools do not have drug problems.

Now, for all of you who believe this, we here in the real world would like to invite you back to reality.

Drugs are rampant in our school systems, and the problem is getting worse.

Alcohol and marijuana are beginning to become old news to some kids, who have branched out to harder drugs such as OxyContin, speed, acid, Ecstasy, PCP and cocaine.

Athletes are in a dangerous position every time they step onto the playing field. Performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, increase a person's risk of heart problems. An athlete also has a greater potential to injure another player when on these drugs.

Setting an example

Pupils in clubs, such as drama, school newspaper, science, language, etc., are revered as role models for younger generations. If these pupils use illegal substances, they are passing on the message to children that it's OK for them to do the same.

Pupils who take part in after-school activities represent their school. A school should have the right to protect its reputation from teens involved with drugs.

Perhaps the key reason pupils should be drug-tested is because drugs ruin lives. Pupils who look like they have it all together on the outside can mess everything up with one tip of a bottle, one puff of a joint or one snort of a line.

Admitting that schools have a problem is the first step, but administrators cannot stop there.

Tough punishments are needed for pupils who test positive. A slap on the wrist is not going to teach anything. Dismissal from an activity or team, as well as possible suspension from school and mandatory drug rehabilitation, should be strongly enforced.

In everyone's best interest

It's time that administrators and communities stop turning their heads and ignoring the problem.

Critics of the Supreme Court's ruling argue that the law is an invasion of privacy and a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

When pupils sign up for a particular group or sport, they are giving up their rights to privacy. Pupils are putting themselves in the public eye, and in turn, giving up some of their freedom.

The school is also responsible for ensuring the safety of their pupils. Eventually, this could even mean drug-testing all pupils. But to be safe, citizens are going to have to give up some of their rights for the best interest of everyone.

XStephanie is a senior at Springfield Local High School, where she is editor of the school newspaper and president of the senior class. She turned 17 Thursday.




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