Trying to teach children to be respectable by disrespecting them is like trying to teach them not to hit by hitting them. It doesn’t make any sense, and it doesn’t work. The proposed IVC drug testing policy disrespects the privacy rights of students — and families.


Trying to teach children to be respectable by disrespecting them is like trying to teach them not to hit by hitting them. It doesn’t make any sense, and it doesn’t work. The proposed IVC drug testing policy disrespects the privacy rights of students — and families.

The district in its FAQ about the policy mentions that the Supreme Court said drug testing wasn’t a violation of privacy, but what they fail to mention is that the Supreme Court was only talking about privacy in relation to students having to urinate in a cup, possibly in front of someone. The invasion of privacy involved in taking bodily tissues or fluids and searching them is a much bigger concern.

The authorities can’t come and poke around your home without first going in front of a judge and convincing him or her that they have a good reason to suspect they will find evidence of wrongdoing. A person’s body is a much more private and personal thing than even their home, and a drug test is a search of a person’s body.

What if you had to sign a paper agreeing to have your home searched without warning in order to get a library card, or a building permit, or a voter registration card, or a driver’s license? Those things are all just as voluntary as band or football. What if you had to agree to have your home searched without warning so your student could be in the choir?
You don’t have to be doing anything wrong to feel that strangers poking around in your home is a violation of your privacy.

What are we teaching our children when we tell them they should have to agree to have their bodies searched for evidence of wrongdoing, just so they can participate in school activities?

What message are they getting when school authorities assume they are guilty until proven innocent? Is this really the kind of citizens we want to raise, who will think nothing of signing away their rights in order to participate fully in their communities?

In my experience—as a student, a parent, and a teacher — children will live up to your expectations, or live down to them. By considering them suspects simply because of their age and involvement in activities, we are setting very low expectations.

Lisa Offutt

Letter to the editor printed in the Feb. 29 edition of the Chillicothe Times-Bulletin