Archive for Thursday, June 23, 2005

Letters to the Editor

June 23, 2005

To the editor:

I'm old and you can call me old fashioned but I always considered my children's possible drug use as a parent or family concern and that it was my responsibility to find out what was happening and it was certainly not their school's responsibility.

All in all, it just doesn't seem like an educational budget problem; if parents wish to pay for the testing for steroids, alcohol, marijuana, etc., please, by all means let them do it. I would certainly have paid for this, however, I do think that if there is enough money in the educational budget to do the testing that there certainly should be a like amount for the purpose of education, such as speakers on curriculum subjects, books, filed trips, expanded library publications, authors' visits, experts visits, you know, what your kids are in school for.

Tom Russell

Baldwin City

To the editor:

I cannot continue to keep silent about the madness taking hold of this community regarding drug testing of children at BHS. I say children, to remind the adults of this community that outside of the few students who would be 18 at the time they might be subjected to drug testing, we are mostly talking about minors here. It is up to the parents to decide this issue. So, parents of BHS and future BHS students, here is a heads up: This proposed drug testing would be unconstitutional.

The state does not have the right to "search" your minor-aged child for drugs, alcohol or tobacco without cause and without a proper warrant. A public school is an arm of the state government. Therefore, the school does not have a legal right to subject any student to drug/alcohol testing without cause.

Drug testing in the workplace (hence drug testing of professional athletes) is a different scenario. As a condition of employment, one may choose to leave one's civil rights on the doorstep in exchange for a lucrative paycheck. That doesn't make it right (or legal), but if one chooses to sell out one's rights, it's a free country and you can subject yourself to that.

The editor of this newspaper and several BHS supporters of this travesty are trying to convince you that the kids themselves overwhelmingly support this action. Let's look at the poll one more time: According to the USD 348 Web site, there are approximately 426 students at BHS. On the question regarding support of random drug testing, 136 responded in favor. The thumbs-down and "unsure" categories combined to total 138 responses. That leaves approximately 152 students who, for some reason, did not take the survey. (If you didn't take it because you or your parents know that the survey itself is an invasion of your right to privacy, you score extra points for civil rights awareness.) So, with 64% of the total student population responding, only 50% were for random drug testing; that's 32% of the total student body. Not so convincing after all. But it isn't even an issue for the kids to decide. It's up to parents to keep their children's civil rights safe from institutions seeking to undermine them.

And let's keep in mind that we are not just talking about drug testing student athletes. While many seem to want the focus to fall on the football team particularly, please read carefully: this is for students involved in "extra-curricular" activities. That means any club or organization that meets outside of the classroom. If BHS is like my high school, that affects a number of groups including NHS, FCCLA, foreign language clubs, etc. If your child participates in any of these activities, you will face this decision.

And yes, parents, it is your decision. Even if the school board passes this insanity, they still cannot invade your child's privacy by taking bodily fluids from him or her without your permission. So, parents, it's up to you. Will you sit idly by and watch the state chip away your constitutional rights? Or will you possibly even go gladly to the slaughter because it seems like a good or a just cause? Bottom line: Do you want to have control of your family, or do you want to cede that control to government authorities?

Nancy Crisp

Baldwin City

To the editor:

Apparently, when it comes to education, the Kansas taxpayer has little or no input.

Let's see: 127 million, 143 million, 580 million; about 850 million for education. This is what the Kansas Supreme Court says the taxpayer might have to spend on education. It would take about 32 years for a person to spend one billion dollars at a dollar a second. I hope our legislators follow their consciences on this important constitutional issue.

1). About two-thirds of our state budget now goes to education. Apparently, our state legislators have lost much control over this spending. Is this taxation without representation? Apparently, the Augenblick/Myer report was relevant. I wonder how much time these so called experts spent in small schools or inner-city schools.

2). Our appointed Board of Regents has consistently raised tuition, really an indirect tax.

3). The Kansas Association of School Boards has consistently advocated the closing of schools and a needed 850 million-dollar increase in education funding. I wonder how many legislators really know KASB's budget. This association is financed by fees, another indirect tax.

4). About 300 million dollars is spent on the "At-Risk" program for minorities and the disadvantaged. Based upon if one qualifies for free or reduced lunch; each district receives about $400 for each student who qualifies. It has been in existence for twelve years. There has been minimal increase in academic performance by some minority groups. Apparently, one minority group statewide failed to make AYP. Is there a new constitutional rule -- perform poorly; receive more money?

5). It appeared to me the legal firm who was representing us, the taxpayer, did a poor job on the "nuts and bolts" issues. Did the legislature have any input on its selection? Who pays these attorneys? What are their fees? Anyway the lost ruling could cost the taxpayer plenty.

6). The taxpayer can't even vote on the Commissioner of Education who will apparently be in charge of this money.

It will be interesting to see what legislators will support what apparently is taxation without representation, and what improvement there will be in the end product.

Leo Kerwin

Wellsville

To the editor:

I would like to commend Jeff Myrick and Baldwin City Signal for all the coverage and support they have given our young men and women serving abroad. Our son Specialist Matthew Roach is in the Army stationed at an airbase 40 miles outside of Bagdad in Iraq. He has been there since January of this year.

We are very lucky that he is in communications and is able to e-mail us on a regular basis. Each time he is either mentioned in the paper or a picture of him is included, we get so many comments from people. Many ask about him and want us to tell him how proud they are of him and how they'll keep him in their prayer. The support of the community isery touching.

The Baldwin City Signal is providing a service to the community keeping them aware of our young people overseas as well as celebratingur servicemen and women's commitment and sacrifice. Thank you Jeff and staff, we appreciate you.

Gloria and Jerry Roach

Baldwin City

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