Students, teachers and parents in school districts across northeast Ohio have been discussing the Bill of Rights -- and not just as part of a lesson plan about the Constitution. The reason: random drug testing of students.
Last fall, three parochial high schools -- St. Eds, St. Ignatius and Gilmour Academy -- began drug testing all students. This fall, Avon and North Olmsted are among the first public schools to implement random tests for students involved in athletics, after-school activities and students that drive to school. Without a doubt, the number of schools considering drug testing is growing. So is the debate about them.
For anyone in need of a refresher course in constitutional rights, the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. While some will argue private schools are not part of the government, public schools are. Some critics claim random drugs tests are discriminatory. Others say testing on school grounds doesn’t attack the problem at its root. Folks will also point to employers’ mandatory drug tests, but there’s one difference: employees are paid, students are not.
It’s guilty until proven innocent -- not exactly what they teach in civics and government class.
We agree that schools should take measures necessary to ensure the safety of their students, but not by trampling on the rights of our younger citizens.
I’m Dominic Mancuso and that’s how we see it.
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