Monday, January 10, 2005
Addicting students to fascism
A state high school has become the first in Britain to test pupils for illegal substances.
In an experiment being closely watched by drug experts and government ministers alike, Abbey School, in Faversham, Kent, has tested its first 10 pupils in an initially voluntary scheme.
The school has the test results but has not released them.
The scheme will eventually see 20 names selected at random every week among the school's 960 pupils, aged 11 to 19.
Those picked will be taken to the school's sick room, where a swab of saliva is taken and sent to an external laboratory to check traces of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines and heroin.
It appears from the variety of tests that your average British middle-schooler and high-schooler is presented with a virtual cafeteria of drugs.
These "little" intrusions of the state into one's privacy always start off sounding so benign—
While Abbey School's regime sounds strict, both pupils and parents must give their consent, pupils on the day and parents in writing in advance. So far, families of 701 pupils have replied to a request, 85 per cent saying yes.
Additionally, those testing positive will not be expelled unless they are suspected of involvement in selling drugs, only cautioned or sent for counselling or treatment.
"They will be asked whether they agree to be tested or not. Nobody will be tested against their will," said head teacher Peter Walker.
Why, bless my soul, that sounds just like the calls for prayer in American public schools. "No one will have to participate" ... "completely voluntary" ... "I'd never dream of forcing any child to pray. But don't you think it's odd that little Judy Miller always leaves the room at prayer time? Do you know anything about her parents?"
"If a child says no to being tested, we will call the parents into the school and discuss it."
You-Know-Who has a hand in this—
With drugs and education among the hottest political topics in Britain, the trial is being monitored closely by the government, with Prime Minister Tony Blair giving the idea his blessing in a recent newspaper article.
Of course, Labour is taking the more moderate position. Here's the Conservative view—
Head teachers "should actually have the power to require their pupils to do it or to face disciplinary action if they refuse", Conservative education spokesman Tim Collins told BBC radio.
"If we are serious about excluding drugs from our schools ... we can't just operate on a laissez-faire and voluntary basis."
Indeed not! Look on it as an opportunity for building the fascist state.
Reuters ran an earlier story on the school's drug-testing program that came to a remarkable conclusion—
Figures on the Home Office Web site, the latest available, say that for the year ending March 2003, drug offences recorded by police rose 16 percent over the previous year to 141,116.
Officials attributed the rise to increased police activity.
That ironic line had to have been written by a Brit.
The drug test: A new weapon for the bureaucrat? (1/4/05)