Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jul 2002
Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Author: Richard Grayson
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


As a New York City high school student in the 1960s, I read George Orwell's 
1984 and learned to be suspicious of a Big Brother government that 
abolishes the right of privacy. Also on our curriculum was Arthur Miller's 
The Crucible, a play that tells what happens when mass hysteria in society 
results in a witch hunt that persecutes the innocent along with the guilty.

These books are still taught in our classrooms, but perhaps they need to be 
required reading for the U.S. Supreme Court, whose decision permitting 
random drug testing of high school students participating in 
extracurricular activities flunks the test of liberty.

While it is disheartening that teenagers are still smoking marijuana and 
ingesting other illegal substances, the majority of high school students 
are not drug users, and they should not shed their privacy rights at the 
schoolhouse door.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rightly noted that mass, 
suspicionless searches pose a greater threat to liberty than do 
suspicion-based ones, which affect one person at a time.

Joining the misguided majority opinion was Justice Antonin Scalia, who had 
once argued that drug testing was a "needless indignity." I don't know if 
Scalia and his four colleagues in the majority would mind taking drug 
tests, but I, for one, would like to know what they were smoking when they 
approved of this assault on students' privacy.

Richard Grayson

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