2008-03-13 / Opinion

Arguments against random drug testing are flimsy

Guest Column
MIKE GOMBA

This letter is written in response to those opposed to the recent decision of the Upper Freehold Regional School District Board of Education to formulate a policy to conduct random drug testing inAllentownHigh School.As a senior atAllentown High School, I just have to shake my head as I walk through the halls and listen to everyone complaining about this random drug testing. In my head all I can do is laugh because I realize that I am one of the few students who could care less about the random drug tests, possibly because they wouldn't even affect me were I to be in the school next year anyway.

In the first place, it cannot be said that since they are targeting those who partake in extracurricular activities that the testing would not be random. It is still a randomized test, whether there is a specific group being tested or not. After taking AP Statistics, I think I'd know that if you're randomly selecting students froma certain group, the testing is still in fact random.

False negatives would be few and far between. If someone has a fetish for eating poppy seed bagels, then I could see poppy seeds creating a positive being a big problem. However, if poppy seeds posed such a serious threat to create a positive drug test, then I highly doubt that drug tests would be relied on so heavily these days.

The arguments against random drug testing are simply flimsy arguments, ones that could be put up by fifth graders and merely silly attempts to squash something that could in essence help the school. Let's not sugarcoat the situation. You can't roam the halls of this high school and truly tell yourself that the school does not have a drug problem. You can't even go to the bathroom without noticing this, as you can often find remnants of chewing tobacco in the urinals, toilets and sinks. You would simply be a naive person to claimdrugs are not prevalent within the high school.

I don't understand why anyone would be opposed to helping those with drug problems. You would think that if you could help one person, just open their eyes, it would be worth it to run this program. But no, you have to have people who care about money and who say it is a waste. Yet how can you put a price on a life? How can you say that random drug testing is merely a waste of time andmoney when it could help to save a life?

Every month you read in the paper about a local high school student who has died in a drug-related incident.What would you say when that student happens to be from Allentown High School? Parents would blame the school for not trying to correct what was clearly a problem within the high school.

Complaints of outdated textbooks, greasy cafeterias and sloppy bathrooms are no reason to say the district shouldn't spend money on something like this. Spending money on these things would be equivalent to burning money in a bonfire. The students do not respect the school. It is their fault the bathrooms are so dirty. It is their fault the books are torn apart and it is their fault that the cafeterias are the way they are. It is time for students to accept responsibility for once and to live lives in which they are responsible for their actions.

Who cares if those who test positive can't partake in extracurricular activities? Aren't these kids having a negative affect on other kids? Or is this the kind of influence that kids want and that parents want their kids to have? I'm only 18 yet I am appalled by the parents opposed to the random

drug testing. How can parents possibly be opposed to drug testing? How can you even call yourself a responsible parent when you are in essence condoning the usage of drugs by opposing the drug testing.

The fact that students say this is "yet another attempt by the school to take away our privacy" sickens me. It is for our benefit, our safety. By doing drugs, you're doing something you shouldn't be doing anyway. If you don't do drugs, then it doesn't matter whether there is randomdrug testing. I don't see how you can say that the school protecting you is invasion of privacy. And be realistic, do the cameras in the halls really affect your everyday life? Do you seriously change the way you act because there are cameras in the halls? Once again, the cameras are for your own safety.

How often have Edline, locker searches, debit cards for lunch purchases and SynchronEYES affected your daily life? How have you changed your actions because of these things? I've always done whatever I've wanted in high school and have always acted as if there were no cameras around and yet I have not once been in trouble. Yet I still lead a far from boring life in school. Here's an idea, if you don't do things you shouldn't be doing, then your life isn't affected by these things, nor the randomdrug testing. Accept responsibility for once in your life. And for the parents, be the parents you are supposed to be.

Mike Gomba

senior Allentown High School

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