Add the Webb City R-7 School District to the list of those who want to begin drug testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities.
While I have no doubt that the board members are considering the step because they have the best interests of the students at heart, that still doesn't make drug testing right.
Superintendent Ron Lankford noted that a 2002 Supreme Court decision allows schools to conduct drug tests of students who participate in extracurricular activities. Thank God our court didn't decide to further violate the 4th and 5th amendments by allowing school officials to conduct random or mandatory drug tests of everyone.
One of the most appalling things about the Joplin Globe article was the support the students showed for the tests. It is this same kind of mindset...protect us from evil no matter how many civil liberties we lose...that has allowed John Ashcroft to prosper.
Some of the reasons given in support of drug testing:
-If kids know they are going to be tested, they won't do drugs. "It will help them in the decision making process," one parent said. Hey, whatever happened to parents helping them with the decision making process. It would sure make it a lot easier on parents if the school would take care of the drug problem for them, just like it takes care of telling the kids about sex.
-"We've got the same problems other communities have and we need to start dealing with it," Football Coach John Roderique said. Besides the obvious grammatical error, this is assuming that people who participate in extracurricular activities are the ones who are abusing drugs. Of course, that group is not immune, but students who participate in extracurricular activites are less likely to do drugs because they have found constructive ways to use their time. Remember, we are not just talking about football and basketball players here. We are also talking about academic team, cheerleaders, band, choir, science club...everything is on the table. One effect may be to drive some kids away from the very activities that could save them.
-The school district can afford it because the tests will be paid for out of a federal Drug Free School and Community grant. If they have the money for it, well then they might as well do it. Now that is sound reasoning. Even worse, district officials plan to shift money from elementary drug prevention programs to pay for testing. Shouldn't good elementary drug prevention programs do more to limit drug use than testing students who are mostly drug-free anyway?
It doesn't matter. It appears that it will happen in Webb City, the same way it happened in Carthage, Carl Junction, and Baxter Springs. What a shame.
A page one story in The Carthage Press tonight dealt with The Press' purchase of the building that used to house Honey's Restaurant on Central Avenue. The article saddened me.
It's not that I'm that connected with the present Press building, though I have plenty of good memories of my nearly 10 years there, the final five and a half as the managing editor. The reason behind that move is what is depressing.
The Press is currently located in a three-story building at 527 S. Main. The building is far too large for the newspaper's needs...primarily because it has been gutted by Liberty Group Publishing, the company that owns The Press, the Neosho Daily News and The Big Nickel.
About six years ago, after Liberty bought the newspaper from Thomson, the company decided it could save money by pulling out the press, selling it, and sending the paper 25 miles to Neosho to be printed. Sure, it improved the company's bottom line, and it improved the Neosho Daily's bottom line, but it cost The Press plenty. The Press was printing nearly every high school newspaper in the area at that time, as well as a few small-town weeklies. Also, the sense of ownership a town has about a newspaper is diminished when it is printed somewhere else. Those things were sacrificed for the bottom line. Also sacrificed were the jobs of the three people who ran the press, including one who had been there for nearly three decades. Chalk another one up to progress.
I didn't know until early last month that there is no longer a composing room at Carthage. That, too, is also done at Neosho now. These steps have saved the company money and improved the bottom line, but they have forced artificially early deadlines on The Press, which can no longer deal with any kind of breaking news in the morning. That doesn't appear to be a problem that bothers anyone connected with Liberty.
Whatever happened to a newspaper being in the business of providing a public service?
I'll talk a little bit more about the old Press building and my memories of it as times draws closer for the big move.
Tonight's movie was the 1956 John Wayne classic, "The Searchers," directed by John Ford. Many movie critics rate this among the top 10 movies of all time and I can understand why.
I hadn't watched this movie in about 20 years and I had forgotten how powerful it was. Wayne said the role of Ethan Edwards was his favorite role. Edwards' brother's family,his only kin, is massacred by renegade Comanches, except for his two nieces. He sets out in pursuit with a young man that his brother had raised as his own, and the older daughter's boyfriend.
This is not a typical hero role for Wayne. Ethan Edwards is a deeply troubled man and a racist with an intense dislike of Indians. The trio discover the older niece has been murdered. Her boyfriend rccklessly seeks vengeance and is killed. The question the viewer has as Edwards' search goes on for more than five years is...what will he do when he finally finds the other girl? Will he rescue her and take her home or will he kill her because she has been contaminated by the Comanches?
Jeffrey Hunter plays the role of Edwards' companion on his search, Morgan Pauley. Vera Miles, one of the loveliest women ever to appear in movies and a favorite of director John Ford's plays the girl who waits and waits for Pauley to return and marry her.
This is truly a great movie and once again shows just how much Wayne's political leanings, which were ultraconservative, got in the way of critics' judgment of his acting skills. Few actors played as many roles as well as John Wayne did.
Interesting note: Wayne's catchphrase in the movie, "That'll be the day" was the inspiration for the hit song of the same name recorded by Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1957.