Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
Source: Log Cabin Democrat (AR)
Copyright: The Log Cabin Democrat
Author: Carisa Shock


 From Carisa Shock, Conway

I am writing in reaction to the article entitled "2 Parents Question Drug 
Testing." I would like to begin by commending Bruce Plopper and Lynn 
Plemmons for their involvement in their children's lives. I also agree with 
Floyd Balentine that parental involvement is crucial.

I would take it a step further and say that the fight against drugs is 
futile without parental involvement. How many of your own values and 
behavior can you trace to your parents' words or actions? It is common sense.

The more time you spend with your children, the better friend and greater 
influence you will have on them. Peer pressure and parental influence are 
inversely related. As one goes up the other goes down and vice versa.

I understand what the drug testing policy is intended to do and know that 
the Conway School District has the best of intentions. I commend them for 
their efforts to keep students drug free. However, I feel that the policy 
will be extremely counterproductive.

Lets be honest here. The majority of high school students try drugs. Let's 
all stop the "not my child" responses and stop being naive. Think about how 
different (less innocent) your high school experience was from your 
parents'. Why wouldn't your child's be just as different from yours?

Again I say to you that most high school students try drugs. What are some 
of the reasons for this? Lack of parental involvement, boredom, 
accessibility, peer pressure, curiosity and the list goes on.

A student has much more of a chance of not letting drugs become a lifestyle 
if they have extracurricular activities that they can participate in. For 
one, there is usually an adult present and having a positive influence on 
your child when you can't be present. Other students are less likely to be 
pressuring your child into doing drugs with an adult around and your child 
would be less likely to accept the invitation with an adult present. The 
peer pressure from these groups is most likely to be pressure to get the 
best grade on the French test or to hit the most home runs or score the 
most touchdowns, or to be the best flute player at the ensemble.

I think it would be a crime to pull a child out of these groups because 
they tried drugs. It would not only humiliate them, which in and of itself 
might be a reason to continue the drug use, but would also take away the 
one thing that may keep them from becoming a permanent member of the drug 
community or culture.

And what about the students who are already using drugs? Are they not worth 
our consideration? Their lives are the ones that really hang in the 
balance. They are already becoming part of the drug community. And we are 
just going to further exile them by not allowing them to get involved in 
something positive?

These students desperately need activities to take the place that drugs 
were taking. Usually, it takes getting involved in that replacement 
activity before they gain the confidence to stop using drugs. Maybe these 
extracurricular activities with their positive peer groups could help them 
see that they can have fun with out using drugs. It could give them 
something of which to feel proud and may offer the only healthy sense of 
belonging that they have in their lives. It may change the whole course of 
their lives.

As a former student of Conway High School, I desperately urge the 
district's board of education to reconsider the drug testing policy and 
urge the public to do the same.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens