Monday, October 06, 2008

NJ Wasting Money on Drug Tests While Children Walk to School

Our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance. . . --M. Foucault

New Jersey has been randomly drug testing high school athletes for two years now, and for their efforts, they have netted exactly two offenders out of the 2,000 tested. That's two souls, total. With those kinds of results, and with education budgets crunched to the point of eliminating school bus service in many communities of the state, wise political leaders such as Richard Codey have decided that it is time for state-sponsored random drug testing for all of New Jersey's high schools.

The effect on students, of course, will be to instill an acceptance of constant surveillance as a way of life, as well as the acceptability of search and seizure practices that were once unacceptable under the Constitution. Now that's learning that won't be forgotten at the end of the day!

From the NY Times:

FOR two school years now, New Jersey’s scholastic athletes have been randomly tested for steroid use. The dragnet has hardly bagged enough abusers to burn out the lights on the scoreboard at any high school football field: Of about 1,000 athletes tested statewide at the beginning of both school years, only two tests were positive, one each year.

The program, the first of its kind in the nation, will be used again this school year — it will be the third year of the program — with about 500 more students among 240,000 athletes to be tested through a private agency by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association. Now, the State Legislature, with the support of athletic directors, wants to put the force of law behind the tests.

“I want kids to think that there’s a cop at the end of the corner, so they don’t speed,” Bob Baly, the assistant director of the athletic association, said of the testing program.

A bill co-sponsored by State Senate President Richard J. Codey, who issued an order for the association to carry out testing during his term as governor, was introduced in an effort to toughen the state’s stance against steroids. The bill passed in the Senate unanimously in April and has been referred to its Education Committee.

“Even if you caught no one, I think it is well worth it,” said Senator Codey, a Democrat from Essex County. Parents know, he said, that if their children are using steroids, “they may get caught.”

The bill, which would mandate that the testing continue, also seeks to ensure that school athletic programs from boys and girls provide education about the dangers of steroids, performance-enhancing supplements, alcohol and drugs. How much state money would go to these programs has not been determined. . . .


2 comments:

  1. I disagree with what New Jersey is doing with the drug testing if it is taking away from providing safe ways for students to get to school. True, drug testing should be done to help steer students away from drugs, but is it necessary to do it every year? I think they should try randomly testing every few years, so then the students have no idea when they will be tested. This would help to filter some of the money towards keeping the bus system going for students to get a safe ride to school, which can be more important than knowing who is using drugs or not.

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  2. public schools waste ridiculous amounts of time and money. i think the comment above is a perfect idea. after all there is only so much you can do to scare people into doing what you tell them to do. after a certain point, there is nothing you can do, because people make individual choices. testing randomly every few years is a perfect way to keep the fear at the right level while accepting that more money just doesnt help enough to warrant it being spent.

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