Pubdate: Sun, 17 Feb 2002
Source: Times-Picayune, The (LA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times-Picayune
Author: Ellenese Brooks-Simms
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Obviously District Attorney Harry Connick has an ulterior motive in 
his constant pursuit of hair testing on the children in the New 
Orleans public schools.

The FDA has not approved hair testing for drugs, nor has this form of 
testing been approved by the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Yet 
Mr. Connick insists that we subject our children to this form of 
testing -- provided by one company, Psychomedics Inc.

Mr. Connick's "concern" for our children is evidenced by the number 
he has arrested and for whom he has subsequently requested the 
maximum sentence -- even for the smallest amount of drugs.

I do agree with him on the need to visit Orleans Parish Prison, 
Juvenile Court or Criminal Court. His documentation is validated by 
the number of African-American boys he has placed in Orleans Parish 
Prison and in the juvenile system.

Mr. Connick's so-called program in our schools allows only for the 
collection of statistical data referencing the number of youth whose 
parents volunteered them for Mr. Connick's experiment. It does not 
provide education or intervention for those children who might fit 
the profile, but did not volunteer.

On the other hand, the collaboration that the board has with the 
Mayor's Office does provide these services to our children, and it 
ensures that parents have a right to a variety of approved testing 

Shouldn't we ask Mr. Connick:

- -- Who are the principals in the sole-source laboratory?

- -- Are they paid by the number of children they test?

- -- What happens to the hair/DNA that is collected?

- -- Why wasn't the information regarding the grant brought to the 
board for input before it was submitted?

Ellenese Brooks-Simms,


Orleans Parish School Board

New Orleans
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