Pubdate: Thu, 22 July 1999
Source: New Times (CA)
Author: Alan McAfee


The guest commentary article "Drug Testing Makes Sense; Shredder Doesn't"
(New Times, July 8) is shallow, lacks facts, and is indifferent to the
effects of urine testing on students.

Karen Donaghe, athletic director of Shandon High School, denounces the
Shredder because he uses "putrid" to describe the taking of kids' urine. At
least the Shredder explains that the invasive policy is stupid, expensive,
unnecessary, and destroys the trust that might otherwise exist between
students and school officials. Donaghe does not attempt to argue the
Shredder's point.

It's ironic that just when cities and corporations are dropping mandatory
urine testing of employees (because it lowers productivity, i.e., profits),
school officials would consider such a costly, ineffective program.

Donaghe should know that studies attribute the lower worker productivity to
a lack of trust, resulting in less effort for employees who are forced to
urinate as a prerequisite to get and maintain a job. Urine testing programs
don't measure impairment, don't lead to fewer accidents, and don't reduce
drug use and drug abuse. They are costly and unnecessary.

Finally, what is truly putrid is Donaghe's reason for endorsing drug testing
on students. It is, she explains, to "take the decision-making process out
of a teen." Oh, yeah, just what I want from my child's education. I send him
to school so he can be brainwashed and programmed so he won't think! Why?
Because school is so "problematic." I mean, with dress codes, drug-sniffing
dogs, increased surveillance, security guards, locker searches, etc., who
needs one more decision to make? It could damage a child's brain.

Alan McAfee, Nipomo

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