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Andria Graeler


American Lit. 1

15 October 2010

Where Is All the Trust?

Five percent of school districts test students for drugs, and most of those schools test

athletes only (“Welcome”). Arguments have ensued on whether drug testing violates the students

Fourth Amendment, or if school officials have the authority to demand such tests. Various

schools test all students; others test only extra-curricular involved students. Should there even be

testing at all? This is the question on the minds of the schools of America. Based upon the

evidence explored, students who participate in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics,

music, and other clubs, should be not drug tested.

Athletes, musicians, and other club members should not be singled out because of their

desire to be involved. Students are singled out enough in school, and the last thing they need is to

be isolated, in a sense, in an environment that causes them enjoyment. By drug testing those

students, their environment that they love dissolves into a nervous environment. Segregation and

discrimination can be seen in this case. Drug testing has been implemented upon students

because they have been said to look “suspicious”. In the Larry v. Lockney case, a case of a small

town farmer went up against the Lockney school board, the final ruling cast out mandatory drug

testing in Lockney. The town then changed its policy to testing voluntary students and those

“who appear to be under the influence of drugs” (Larry v. Lockney). The question of what

constitutes the appearance of being under the influence of drugs now comes into play. It is all a

matter of opinion of whether someone looks high or not. Consequently, it is an invalid reason to
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test students because they look shifty. Such happenings in extra-curricular activities place stress

and pressure on these students, which in turn, affects their performances. Extra-curricular

participants are held to the standard to do well for their school. Stress and nervousness take away

their ability to be one hundred percent focused on their goals. From a biochemical standpoint,

when any person is nervous anxiety shuts down their brain in a sense (Coach Peterson). As a

result, if a student athlete is apprehensive because of a mandatory drug test, their ability to play

their sport decreases. Restlessness about drugs does not mean the nervous student is a drug user.

When CBC implemented their drug testing policy, a student, Patrick Holley, backs this statement

up. “Everyone was talking about it. Everyone was sweating. Even clean teens were nervous…

You’re on the spot. You’re being searched. Your personal life is being put on

display.”(Hunn).They cannot think clearly about the task at hand. This is similar to when

someone is high. They cannot focus to the full extent.

Others believe that students participating in athletics, music, and/or other clubs should be

tested to ensure public safety. If a student under the influence of drugs is taking part in an extra-

curricular activity, they do not have absolute control of their actions. The use of drugs causes the

user to become lethargic. Indolent athletes cannot possibly be focused fully on whatever sport

that are involved in. If students participating in extra-curricular activities influence upon their

peers about drugs, it decreases public safety. This relates to the control issue previously stated.

When under the influence of drugs, students do not only put their teammates in danger but the

entire public also. Schools stress so much about keeping their students safe; hence, they instate

drug testing to try to maintain that safety. One of their reasoning for drug testing is that students

will be less likely to do drugs because now they have a reason to say no. “To many parents, the

drug test is a ‘tool’ to provide students a reason to resist peer pressure to drink or do drugs” (The
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New York Times). Drugs endanger public safety for everyone in the community and not just

those around the drug user. If a person is high and they decide to go out and drive, they are

putting all other drivers and pedestrians on the roadside in danger. Operating a vehicle requires

control and awareness. Drugs of any kind put people’s minds in a fog, and they cannot

concentrate fully on driving. DUI does not only apply to driving under the influence of alcohol, it

also includes driving under the influence of drugs. Therefore it is just as much as a crime.

Another argument against drug testing students who participate in extra-curricular

activities is that studies show that students involved in sports, music, and/or other clubs are less

likely to use drugs. Because of the pressure put on participants to stay clean, they choose not to

partake in drugs. This is much like one of the opposition’s debates. The opponents said that drug

testing is a preventive. Brother Daniel Poos of CBC states, “It’s a deterrent. It’s a way for kids to

say, ‘No.’” (Hunn).On the other hand, people argue that extra-curricular activities alone keep

kids from being associated with drugs. Athletes have a reason to say no. They know what is

healthy for them, and drugs are not one of those healthy things. It has been said that drug testing

is a deterrent; well, extra-curriculars are also a deterrent. Testing students who are not as

probable to drugs is useless. A lawyer for the National Drug Policy Litigation Project addresses

this. The Tecumseh School District went to court to get approval for testing their students who

took park in after-school programs. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Graham Boyd,

the previously mentioned lawyer, complained about the targeting of “students who are relatively

unlikely to use drugs.” His opinion was that their so called issue was not valid. (Jacques).

Schools trust their athletes, musicians, and other club members to compete their hardest, for this

reason they should have faith in their students to not use drugs.

Drug testing, in its mandatory form, is an infringement on the Fourth Amendment to the
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U.S. Constitution. The Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons,

houses, paper, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and

no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and

particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In the

end, it seems that drug testing causes more harm than it helps. Singling out, anxiety, assumption

of distrust, the list could go on of the negative effects of drug tests. Drug testing has good points

too. It helps those who have problems with drugs to be helped, and it insures public safety.

Nevertheless, the devastating negative effects on the students out weight the positive ones.

Mandatory drug testing should not be allowed for exactly that reason.