Jan 112011
 
 January 11, 2011  Surveillance, Youth & Schools

FourthAmendment.com kindly pointed me to a situation in New Jersey that will be of concern to all those who care about student privacy and civil liberties:

A proposal to conduct random drug tests of young students in one New Jersey town is raising some eyebrows.

Students at Belvidere Elementary School could be adding drug testing to their list of lessons when they move into middle school.

The Board of Education will vote Wednesday on a plan to randomly test sixth, seventh and eighth graders to see if they are under the influence of drugs. School administrators said they were confident the proposal would pass.

Elementary School Principal Sandra Szabocsik said school officials want to use the testing “as a deterrent.”

Read more on CBS News. Before you throw something at the wall, do note that the administrators say that this program will be voluntary and will require both student and parental consent for participation. They also say that no one will be turned in to the police or suspended if they test positive.

But what happens to children who refuse to participate? Will they be viewed as having ‘something to hide’ or be treated differently in subtle or unconscious – if not conscious – ways by school personnel?

John Wesley Hall of FourthAmendment.com sees this as a blatant Fourth Amendment violation. He’s the expert, but I’m not sure I understand how a “voluntary” program is a blatant Fourth Amendment violation.  I hope he’ll clarify/educate me on that.

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