Drug testing doesn't make children safer The Sun's...


April 09, 2002

Drug testing doesn't make children safer

The Sun's editorial "A high C and a drug test" (March 31) was right on target. The U.S. Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of an Oklahoma school district's drug testing policy, but there are compelling health reasons to oppose the invasive policy.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce drug use. Forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests as a prerequisite will only discourage such activities.

Drug testing may also compel smokers of relatively harmless marijuana to switch to harder drugs to avoid testing positive. Marijuana is the only drug that stays in the body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent.

Synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. A student who takes ecstasy or heroin on Friday night will likely test clean on Monday morning.

If you think students don't know this, think again. Anyone capable of running a search on the Internet can find out how to thwart a drug test.

And the most abused drug is almost impossible to detect with urinalysis. That drug is alcohol, and it takes far more lives every year than all illegal drugs combined.

Instead of wasting money on counter-productive drug tests, schools should invest in reality-based drug education.

Robert Sharpe


The writer is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance.

University System misuses state funds

I read with interest Mike Bowler's column "Mansions ought to make rich donors feel at home" (March 31) and wondered: Aren't rich donors more interested in the education programs and facilities than in being entertained in a presidential palace?

As a Towson University alumnus with grandchildren approaching college age, I question the use of taxpayers' money by the University System of Maryland.

Sue Betsill


Bush disregards commitment to kids

As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush promised he would fight to see "all Americans with disabilities have every chance to pursue the American dream." Sadly, President Bush broke this pledge by using a recess appointment to install Gerald Reynolds as head of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) ("Finance reform critic named by Bush to enforce new law," March 30).

Roughly 60 percent of all discrimination complaints OCR investigates involve students with disabilities, and many fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But Mr. Reynolds has sharply criticized the ADA, claiming it would "retard economic development in urban centers across the country."

Mr. Bush's willingness to discard his campaign commitment and appoint Mr. Reynolds not only betrays the legacy of his father, who signed the ADA in 1990, but suggests he is willing to play elitist politics with the lives of students with disabilities.

Margaret Morrison


Sharon's policies foster more violence

Even if a wider conflict in the Middle East can be avoided, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's actions will never lead to peace and the human suffering on both sides will continue.

But where is U.S. leadership in conflict resolution in this situation? And where is the outcry from sensible Americans against a government that seems to be leaning toward war and oppression in Palestine rather than peace and fairness?

Elke Straub


Give the Israelis reason to withdraw

Instead of demanding the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from "Palestinian lands," why not ask Israel for a conditional guarantee of withdrawal based on a period of time with no suicide bombings (i.e. three weeks)?

This would place the onus on the terrorists, and give Israel a reason to withdraw.

Albert M. Harris


Acela trains run well on our old tracks

The letter "Amtrak has done little to deserve public subsidies" (March 18) leaves little doubt that the writer came to the Amtrak Reform Council with a less than open mind concerning how to reform rail-passenger transport.

But I will grant the letter-writer that Amtrak's Acela train is not a high-speed train in comparison to those in France and Japan.

However, in those countries, high speed trains run on state-of-the-art right-of-ways, not on ones that use infrastructure that dates from the early 20th Century and, in the case of some of the tunnels under Baltimore, even earlier.

Given those hobbling insufficiencies, it is surprising Acela is doing as well as it is.

G. Daniel Waszelewski


In Eastern church, priests can marry

Priestly celibacy is not, strictly speaking, the law of the Catholic Church ("Must a priest's celibacy be condition of his work?" March 21.) It is the law of the Western Rite of the Catholic Church. Its Eastern Rite Church, in contrast, has never abandoned the custom, dating to Jesus' time, of married clergy.

And under current Roman Catholic Church rules, married men of the Eastern Rite may be ordained as priests, but only if they are working in the ancestral homelands of Eastern Rite Catholicism (i.e. Eastern Europe and the Middle East.)

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.