Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2008
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2008 The Honolulu Advertiser,
Author: Keith Brilhart


Reasoned Discussion Needed On Best Policy

Reading the letters in Sunday's Advertiser in favor of random drug
testing for Hawai'i's teachers made me see that the public discourse
on this is more of a brawl than a reasoned discussion to arrive at the
best policy.

I think it very unfortunate that the HSTA negotiated random drug
testing. There's reasonable grounds to drug test when a teacher is
behaving like their performance is suffering due to drug abuse, but
random testing implies that the interest isn't in confirming problems,
but rather in ferreting out deviant behavior that is otherwise private.

Private behavior should never be of interest to the governor or the
DOE; it is protected by the Constitution. Behavior that violates
others' rights is not protected, nor is behavior that is covered by a
freely negotiated contract.

That the HSTA actually negotiated to accept random testing was most
unfortunate. If I were a teacher, I'd be lobbying amongst my fellow
members to replace the leadership of the HSTA over this. They should
have counter-proposed a suspicion-based drug testing program and held
firm on it.

This circus is unfortunate, mostly because people who seem not to
understand the Constitution are making hay from it. I only hope my
fellow citizens can also detect the whiff of fascist sentiment in the
desire to make all conform by forfeiting their rights.


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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath