With all of the attention on Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds, and others who have been accused of using steroids in sports, and reports of high school and even middle school athletes who are emulating their professional sports idols to gain an edge in competition, it is not surprising that state legislators are jumping on the bandwagon and proposing testing for student athletes.
Today's Joplin Globe features an article on a proposal by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, to test student athletes for steroids.
Longtime readers of The Turner Report know that I am not in favor of drug testing for students. Well-meaning school administrators and boards of education have taken court rulings that say that those who participate in extracurricular activities can be tested and ran with them. Many of them, rightly concerned about the drug problem in America, would test every student if the courts would allow it.
Several things bother me about drug testing and steroid testing:
-In America, even those who are accused of crimes are offered the presumption of innocence. With this type of invasive testing, all students are considered crininals from the outset.
-Taxpayer money could be used for far better purposes. Regular drug tests cost $10 to $15 per test, while the steroid testing costs more than $50.
-As far as the regular drug testing is concerned, we are taking the chance, and it has proven over and over, that some students who might stay in school if they participate in extracurricular activities, and may well eventually stop bad behavior when surrounded by students who are not taking drugs, do not even participate because of the fear of these tests. In other words, we are failing to save the students who most need to be saved.
And the students, the very ones who should be protesting these invasions of their privacy, are rolling over and begging for more.
We do have drug problems in our society and steroid use has increased, but so far there has been little or no evidence to show that these drug testing programs have had any success.
People naturally want to feel like they are doing something to combat society's ills; who can blame them? Is it necessary, however, that students have to give up their freedoms to make adults feel better?