Drug Testing In High School Athletics Essay

, Research Paper

Drug Testing in High School Athletics?

Kids do as kids see is a popular statement you hear often. This is true to a certain extent. When a baby is growing up, him/her mimics other people s

moves and actions to help he/she learn. However, this statement becomes

totally untrue when that baby becomes a teenager and decides to enter an

athletics program in high school. Each person has choices and rights under a

wonderful document put together by our forefathers: the Constitution. Or do

they? This document is now being revised by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately,

their revisions are designed to further their own personal beliefs and end up

ignoring the overall outcome. In a majority 6-3 decision June 26th, 1995, the

Supreme Court upheld random testing for drugs in public high school athletic

programs. A statement released by Justice Antonin Scalia asserted

that, Fourth Amendment rights…are different in public schools than

elsewhere. This is a bold but completely outrageous statement. In all my

years of U.S. history classes I don t recall the Constitution designating any

restrictions to the Amendment. Moreover, I personally believe that it is

horrifying that any group of people, even those who sit on the Supreme Court,

has the choice to white-out and then rewrite the Constitution and by doing so

nullify the rights of children in public schools.

Drugs are definitely a problem in the U.S. in general and in school

districts across the country in particular. However, according to the

Statistical Handbook on Adolescents in America, the overall use of hard drugs

is down over the past 18 years and the use of more mild drugs, such as

marijuana, has only risen slightly. And so, the questions arise: Are drugs

enough of a problem in schools to make mandatory drug testing of students

necessary? Is this not a violation of the students Fourth Amendment rights?

The small town of Veronia, Oregon has been the center of the debate over the

whole issue. This town of 3,000 people decided in 1989 to use the policy of

requiring high school athletes from grades seven to twelve to be tested for

drug use throughout the sports season. This decision came, After consulting

with parents in a community meeting, and the school board (Woo and Seo).

Again, I believe that a small point has been overlooked in this situation: the

student s opinion on the decision.

The Fourth Amendment states that every citizen is to be free from

unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. But by granting a

school system the authority to single out students and force them to urinate in

a cup, the Supreme Court has sanctioned just the type of program our

forefathers wanted to protect us from.(Goodwin)

Beyond the argument stated above, the tests are very costly for a national

education system which, in some cases, cannot even provide new books and

updated materials to their students. The drug tests cost about $30 per

student. (Goodwin) This does not sound like a great expense. However, take

into consideration that an average AA high school has about 1,500 students and

20% of the students are in some sort of athletic program. The price tag is

already at $9,000 for only one overall test for those 300 kids. The most

ridiculous fact of all is that the test for steroids is not used, even though

the drug is used almost exclusively in athletics, because this test costs much

more then the standard tests. For all of these reasons, this law is

ineffective and much too costly overall.

The Supreme Court s main argument is dictated in a statement made by

Justice Scalia, The most significant element in this case is that it concerns

children who have been committed to the temporary custody of the state as

schoolmaster. Therefore, he is saying that once a child arrives at school,

the school s teachers and administrators take over as legal guardians and are

allowed to do as they please with that child. The Supreme Court s other main

point in this decision is that the tests are directed toward the athletics

programs because the court seems to see athletes as the role models of high

schools. According to Justice Scalia, I seems that a drug problem fueled

largely by…athletes…is effectively addressed by making sure that the

athletes do not use drugs (Scalia).

On some points the decision is a very good idea, but it does have a faulty

screw. The fact that an innocent student can be pulled from class and forced

to urinate in a cup to be tested for drug use is the main flaw. Justice

Scalia s assertion that teachers and administrators become the temporary

guardians of the students and have the right to do whatever they feel is in

direct conflict with a decision made by the same court. For example, In 1984,

the court said principals and teachers could search the lockers and purses

[only] of students suspected of violating the rules (Woo and Seo). Not only is

the Supreme Court practically re-drafting the Constitution, but it has also

shown insecurity about its decision by suggesting that problems may arise

regarding the limits of random drug testing. At what point does random drug

testing violate students rights? The Supreme Court seems that not to have

decided. Moreover, who is to say who the real role models of high schools

really are? They could be anyone from the stars of the band to the

cheerleaders to maybe just the most popular student. So again, the Court s

decision fails because it separates out high school athletes that are no more

role models than any other student in the high school.

The whole thought of this is appalling. Random drug testing of student

athletes is costly, ineffective, and most importantly, a violation of students

Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. If the Supreme Court can pull

off a ridiculous verdict such as forcing young athletes to take random drug

tests to consistently prove their innocence, and by doing so waste our very

valuable and scarce education tax dollars, what s next?

Works Cited

Chadwick, Bruce A. Table H2-3. Statistical Handbook on Adolescents in

America. Oryx:Canada 1996.

Goodwin, Joe. Drug Testing Makes High School Athletes Second Class

Citizens.” The LosAngeles Times. 2 Jul. 1995: M3.

Scalia, Antonin. Veronia School District 47j v. Acton. 26 Jun. 1995.

Woo, Elaine and Diane Seo. On Front Lines of Campus Drug War, Many Back

Tests. The Los Angeles Times. 27 Jun. 1995: A10


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