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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001073.txt from 2002/06

From: Jeremy A Schiffer <schiffer@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: [kl] Music vs. drug testing
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 11:51:59 -0400

On Fri, 28 Jun 2002, Bill Hausmann wrote:

> At 11:14 AM 6/28/2002 -0500, Kevin Callahan wrote:
> > > If you
> > > are on drugs...well, you should have thought of that ahead of time, so I
> > > have no pity for you.
> >
> >Even criminals have rights. That's one of the things that sets America
> >apart.
>
> Including the right to be caught and punished for their crimes, just as
> they would expect someone who committed a crime against THEM to be caught
> and punished.

not to be cynical, but if i'm sitting in my living room, smoking a nice
joint, who am i committing a crime against? in a country that prides
itself on civil liberties (though they're being stripped away daily), what
people do in the privacy of their own home should not be the business of
the government. after all, drug testing doesn't indicate whether a student
is high at school; they can get kicked out for one thing they did two
weeks previously.

i could have a ton to say on this topic. but i won't; i'll be as succinct
as i possibly can. i wrote my thesis in college (at a top five liberal
arts college) as a sociology major on the reasons behind moral
legislation, specifically the drug wars, prohibition, and the
anti-immigration laws of the early 20th century. (if you'd like to read
it, please contact me and i'll send you a link)

aside from just pointing out the fact that some drugs (marijuana, cocaine)
were outlawed and others were allowed (alcohol, nicotine) based primarily
on whether it was whites or minorities who were the perceived users, i'll
actually relate this to music. did you all know that one of the primary
rationales for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the fear that black men
(though the senators arguing for the act used a different word) would
entice women with weed and that evil jazz music, and then rape them? 10
million americans have been arrested because of the fear of black men
using drugs and jazz to entice white women sexually.

also, to get to the current discussion, to show how the same attitude
still prevails amongst our "elites" i'll quote part of a salon.com story
from yesterday:

from http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/06/28/boyd_interview/index.html

"During oral arguments on the case in March, several Supreme Court
justices expressed strong support for student drug testing. At one point,
Justice Antonin Scalia taunted Graham Boyd, the ACLU lawyer who argued the
case on behalf of defendant Lindsay Earls: "So long as you have a bunch of
druggies who are orderly in class, the school can take no action. That's
what you want us to rule?" At another juncture, Justice Anthony Kennedy
asked Boyd a hypothetical question about whether a district could have two
schools, one a "druggie school" and one with drug testing. As for the
first, Justice Kennedy said, "no parent would send a child to that school,
except maybe your client." (Earls, a former honor student at Tecumseh High
School in Oklahoma, had objected to drug testing as an intrusion on her
right to privacy.)"

also, keep in mind that drug testing costs about $25 per student per
instance. is this really a good use of money in schools, especially when
extra curricular activities actually help keep students off drugs? so by
pushing drug testing, you're alienating the most at-risk students who may
be helped by band, graphic arts (which do compete in the Vocational
Industrial Clubs of America competitions) or cheerleading... on the other
hand, every kid who's rights are stripped away is that much more likely to
be another adult who comes out against the war on drugs, realizing that
DARE lied to them and smoking an occassional joint isn't the worst crime
against humanity.

okay, i'll get off my soapbox now. though i reserve the right to get back
on later.

-jeremy

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Jeremy A. Schiffer
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Columbia University
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