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MY SON JOHN

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Random Student Drug Testing

The federal government has authorized and funded RSDT programs in the NO Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

RSDT programs are demonstrating remarkable results in reducing child drug use, addiction, overdose deaths and drunk/drugged driving deaths, while improving school and highway safety.
My state, Virginia, enacted a state RSDT law in 2003, and numerous other states currently have RSDT laws under active consideration. These programs are confidential, non-punitive and cost effective.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Education offer assistance to local communities that wish to consider implementing RSDT programs.
 
ADVOCACY FOR STATE LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT RANDOM STUDENT DRUG TESTING(RSDT)
 
 

State student drug testing legislation is urgently needed to help citizens counter the $500 billion in annual illegal drug revenues that are working overtime to sustain the massive schoolchild drug market that generates new customers for drug traffickers. Parents are virtually helpless against the corruption and intimidation that underlie the failure to acknowledge and adequately respond to the massive plague of drug use and violence among schoolchildren in America today. Thus, parents need state government support to help protect their families and communities from evil, wealthy and violent drug traffickers.

After nearly one-third of a century of the drug-related devastation of America’s schoolchildren as is well illustrated by 22, 000 drug overdose deaths a year, our federal government finally endorsed and funded RSDT in the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001." Following that key event, the U. S. Supreme Court in 2002 expanded their approval of RSDT to include all schoolchildren in extracurricular activities. Closely following that ruling, federal drug prevention agencies soon began their endorsement and support of RSDT. And most recently, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, enthusiastically endorsed RSDT in his 2004 State of the Union address.

President George W. Bush: “Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective tool to save children’s lives.  The aim here is not to punish children but to send them this message: We love you and we do not want to lose you.”  Excerpted from 2004 State of the Union Address

Currently, individual states are considering adoption of state legislation to endorse and support RSDT, with Virginia being the first to actually adopt such legislation with its "Drug Testing in Public Schools" act of 2003.

Although the vast majority of parents and teachers support RSDT, many school officials remain reluctant to give serious consideration to this humanitarian initiative. Thus, parents need official state endorsement and support for RSDT to assist them in their appeals to local school officials requesting them to consider adopting RSDT as a vital additional school health/safety program.

Detailed documentation of model state RSDT laws, court cases and scientific studies verifying the legality and effectiveness of RSDT are available from the National Student Drug Testing Committee web site at http://www.studentdrugtesting.org

NICAP 1/31/04

VIRGINIA’S "DRUG TESTING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS" STATUTE ENACTED IN 2003

ONE-PAGE VERSION OF VIRGINIA’S 2003

STATE RANDOM STUDENT DRUG TESTING LAW

Titled "Drug Testing in Public Schools"

A. The (State) Board of Education shall establish guidelines and develop non-punitive health/safety-based* model random (suspicionless) drug testing policies to supplement existing conduct-based (reasonable suspicion) drug and violence prevention plans previously developed pursuant to the federal Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 (Title IV - Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act).

B. In accordance with the most recent enunciation of constitutional principles by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the Board's standards for local school board policies on alcohol and drugs and search and seizure shall include guidance for procedures relating to voluntary and mandatory random drug testing in schools, including, but not limited to, which groups may be tested, use of test results, confidentiality of test information, privacy considerations, consent to the testing, need to know, and release of the test results to the appropriate school authority.

C. Nothing herein shall be construed to require any local school board to adopt policies requiring or encouraging any random drug testing in schools. However, a local school board may, in its discretion, require or encourage random drug testing in accordance with the Board of Education's guidelines and model random student drug testing policies required in paragraph B.

D. The Board of Education shall develop, in consultation with the Office of the (State) Attorney General, guidelines for local school boards for the conduct of student searches, including voluntary and mandatory drug testing, consistent with relevant state and federal laws and constitutional principles.

 

* The U.S. Supreme Court approved health/safety-based non-punitive random student drug testing in its 2002 Pottawatomie v. Earls decision stating, "The Court concludes that the (school drug testing) Policy effectively serves the School district’s interest in protecting its students’ safety and health."

 

NOTE:

This one-page version of the Virginia state student drug testing law is in large part word-for-word from the provisions in the 2003 Virginia law titled Drug Testing in Public Schools. It has been slightly edited to include in the introductory paragraph the primary rationale for this new law: the need to supplement existing conduct-based zero tolerance drug prevention policies prevailing under the federal 1994 Safe and Drug-Free Schools law, by adding new non-punitive health/safety-based random student drug testing as is now authorized under recent Supreme Court decisions. The actual 2003 revisions to the Virginia law are stated in bold italics in the Approved version of Virginia bill H 2091, available at www.studentdrugtesting.org .

NICAP 7/9/03, Rev. 1/23/04, 7/15/04

Below are some horrifying statistics:

One third of secondary schoolchildren use illegal drugs on a regular basis, including alcohol which is an illegal drug for children under 21.

Over 52,000 drug-related deaths occur each year, 22,000 directly from drug overdoses. Many others survive with permanent drug damage. Nearly all started with a shared joint from a schoolmate.

The early introduction and addiction of kids to drugs and alcohol leads to school violence, bullying, crime, health problems, destroyed careers, destroyed families, destroyed education opportunities, chaotic personal relationships, mental illness, youth depression, suicide, overdose deaths, drunk/drugged driving deaths, and billions of dollars lost in attempts to respond to these massive problems.

Nearly 600,000 kids are enrolled in alternative schools established to warehouse drug-afflicted and other troubled schoolchildren to keep them from harming their innocent classmates, their teachers or themselves.

Educational standards and performance have plummeted. Good teachers shun the profession out of fear for their personal safety. Concerned parents opt for private schools or home schooling to protect their children. Many administrators are in denial about school drug problems.

Many schools have been turned into armed fortresses with police presence to try to protect students from drug-related violence and disruption.

The awareness that virtually no one is safe from this vicious massive national youth drug plague causes many parents and children to suffer from a continuing sense of personal fear and terror.

 

 

Below is my letter to the editor of the Free Lance Star, published September 03, 2004.
 
The Free Lance-StarSubscribe to The Free Lance-Star Today!
Random drug-testing could save students' lives

Random drug-testing could save students' lives

Date published: 9/3/2004

Every parent of a schoolchild should know about a new law that Virginia passed in July 2003.

It is called the "drug-testing in public schools" (or, random student drug-testing) law. It authorizes local schools to use random student drug-testing if they choose. There are provisions for federal funding of this law in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Drug abuse leads to about 52,000 deaths annually, 22,000 directly from overdoses.

We have been given a tool that can be implemented in our schools at the discretion of each School Board.

Random student drug-testing is nonpunitive, confidential, and cost-effective. It is cheaper to detect early drug experimentation than it is to treat a later addiction.

Most importantly, we cannot place a dollar amount on the lives of our children. I firmly believe that if this law had been on the books when my son, John Atkinson, (Jan. 19, 1981-March 30, 2002), had been a student, he may still be alive today.

Random student drug-testing is a health-related program. The new law will allow a health-based response that specifically eliminates any punishment and provides confidential assessment and treatment for any schoolchild whose unhealthy exposure to illegal drugs has been detected by a confidential drug test.

If tested positive, the student is then referred for treatment and rehabilitation at the expense of the school drug-test program.

It is important to ask school officials to ensure that this program covers all students, not just the students who participate in sports or extracurricular activities.

It is too late for my son, John. But this program can ensure that future generations have a chance at early detection and treatment of drug use before it becomes an addiction, and before the student becomes another statistic.

Contact your local school officials, and let them know that you want the random student drug-testing law implemented in your school district.

Do it now, before your child's name is written in stone.

Bonnie Atkinson

Woodford



I strongly urge you to become an advocate in your state. If your state does not currently have RSDT law, or if your state does, and your local school district is not implementing it, please contact them and urge them to get involved! I firmly believe that RSDT can save lives! We, as parents, relatives, friends and communities owe it to the children that are our next generation to make sure that RSDT is in each and every school in our nation! 
If you need more information, please contact me, Bonnie Atkinson at bonnie542@earthlink.net , DeForest Rathbone(Chairman of National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy, NICAP) at 703-759-2215,or email atdzr@prodigy.net,
or Joyce Nalepka(President of Drug Free Kids:America's Challenge) at AmerCares@aol.com , and one of us will get the necessary information to you.
You can also visit the Drug Free Kids: America's Challenge website at http://www.ourdrugfreekids.org/
 

NICAP
National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy

1044 Springvale Road/ Great Falls, VA 22066/ 703-759-2215

 

P. O. Box 60865, Washington D. C. 20039
Make Checks payable to Drug Free Kids

 

"You can't let up now. It is vital that you set the tone for other parents by creating an intolerant attitude about drugs in this country.  And it is essential that you push the issue to the point of making people feel uncomfortable.   There is not middle ground.  Indifference is not an option.  For the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be ever more unyielding and inflexible as you continue your crusade against drugs."

Nancy Reagan

 

 

FALLEN HEROS