Monday, April 18, 2005

It is amazing the difference that one little letter can make in a statement. Spell check, though it is an incredibly valuable tool, will not pick up something incorrect if it is also a word. Such was the case in The Turner Report article Saturday on Nexstar CEO Perry Sook's comments at last week's Wachtavia Conference.
"If you are moving to Joplin, Missouri, tomorrow...NOW that I would advocate that per se," he said as the investors in the audience chuckled, "you have Cable One and Dish Network." That doesn't sound that bad, does it? Unfortunately, that is not what Sook said.
The actual quote was, "If you are moving to Joplin, Missouri, tomorrow...NOT that I would advocate that per se," means something entirely different.
I will correct that statement in Saturday's blog entry.
Sorry about the mistake.
Apparently, O'Sullivan Industries officials did not think enough of the city of Lamar to even contact the local newspaper about the 50th anniversary celebration, if the Democrat website is any indication.
Tom O'Sullivan, his family, and the workers of Lamar were responsible for making O'Sullivan a household name, but...unless this important milestone was mentioned in an advertisement, or in a story that did not make the website...and that is possible, it appears the management, under the direction of million-dollar CEO Bob Parker is doing its best to make Lamar just another city in which O'Sullivan has a plant.
As expected, the Diamond R-4 Board of Education Thursday approved drug testing for students who are involved in extracurricular activities.
Anyone who has read this blog on a regular basis knows how I feel about this subject. It is sad that the very people who are responsible for teaching children about their civil liberties are now doing their best to deprive them of those same liberties.
Our government, and schools are the part of our government with which most people deal on a regular basis, has no business becoming involved in searches without cause, and has no right, no matter what federal courts have ruled, to force students to testify against themselves, and that is exactly what random drug testing does.
Remember that this policy applies only to students who participate in extracurricular activities. Undeniably, there are students who are in sports or music or Chess Club, or even Diamond's sacred Cooking Club, who might be tempted to try drugs, but certainly there are more people who are not participating in those activities who are doing so. These are the people who many times end up dropping out of school and becoming problems for society. But so far, thank God (and yes, I am allowed to do that in this country) the courts have not permitted random drug testing of all students.
I have been running a poll for the past several months on the website I set up when I was teaching in the Diamond R-4 School District, on whether there should be drug testing in the school. Those voting have favored it by a pretty wide margin. That scares me. Part of that is that the people who vote see a genuine drug problem, not just in the Diamond schools, but in society as a whole. They see this as a way to deal with it. I can understand that.
The problem is some of these people simply cannot see how it flies in the face of everything that this country stands for.
Parents have always had the right to have their children tested. True, many do not have the money for this testing, so maybe some non-governmental group should set up a system through which these parents can receive that kind of funding. The push for drug testing in the schools has been just one more step in the continuing trend of having schools do what parents will not or cannot do.
Drug testing is also a costly and wasteful procedure. I have no idea how much it costs now, but when Carthage was looking into it a few years back, I recall that the estimates were that it would cost approximately $10,000 on an annual basis. I doubt if prices have gone down since that time.
And the tests are not foolproof. There are many kinds of prescription medication that can cause false positives. When those occur, school officials have to get to the bottom of the problem, thus wasting more valuable time.
It appears that this is going to take place. No one in the Diamond R-4 School District, as far as I know, has taken a stand against it.
The presumption of innocence no longer exists in Diamond.
On the other hand, wouldn't it be a great time for Superintendent Mark Mayo, High School Principal Jim Cummins and other members of the administration and board to show just how much they believe in random drug testing.
They should agree to submit to drug and alcohol tests on a random basis (no fair studying overnight).
Now that would be leadership.

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