The case: Pottawatomie County v. Earl

by Wesley Fager (c) 2002

Dateline Oakton, VA. 6-27-02. Today Lindsay Earls is a student at Dartmouth College. Two years ago she was just an honor roll student at Tecumseh High School in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma simply wanting to sing in the chorus and to join an academic team. They told her she would have to pee in a jar first. "Why?", she wanted to know. "I make good grades. I don't cause any trouble. It's embarrassing to pee in a jar, and besides I haven't been accused of any crime, have I?" She sued. 

In 1995 the Supreme Court had ruled that high school students who participate in sport activities could be drug tested because they are at a great risk of injury due to the nature of sports activities. That case had been brought by an Oregon school district.  The school's expert witness then had been former White House Drug Czar and former Straight consultant Bob DuPont who is now the chief of the advisory board of Psychemedics--the world's foremost hair drug testing company.  [Bob DuPont is also on the Advisory Board of Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) which is what Straight calls itself today.]  But Tecumseh High School in Oklahoma wanted to move it up a notch.  They wanted to make any kid who wanted to participate in any extracurricular activity to be randomly tested for drugs.   Graham Boyd, representing the ACLU, stated,  "The most effective way to keep students from using drugs is to engage them in after-school activities. The last thing you want to do is to put up barriers to these activities." A federal appeals court agreed and ruled against the school district saying that it had taken the 1995 sports case too far. So the school district appealed to the US Supreme Court. 

The honorable Supreme Court justices proved today by a ruling of 5-4 that did not know any more about when a soul actually enters an unborn infant's body than whether, as they ruled today, "schools' interest in ridding their campuses of drugs outweighs an individual's right to privacy." They did not know themselves so they turned to distinguished men and women of the American drug policy establishment who provided for them an Amicus Curie Brief to help them decide. The brief was highly influenced by DFAF (Straight).   Now to peer into someone's body is to conduct an unwarranted search if that person has not been suspected of a crime. That is not arguable. But whether the "schools' interest in ridding their campuses of drugs outweighs an individual's right to privacy" is an appropriate measure, well that is certainly arguable. 

And there is another matter that is equally arguable and that is, "what is the motive for  Straight and it's cronies to file an Amicus Brief in this case."  This latest Supreme Court decision is going to call for more drug testing of our young people. And while these tests will surely help deter the destructive use of illegal drugs by our young people, which we all detest,  someone will be paid to do the testing. It is not a free service.  For 17 years Straight ran a chain of abusive juvenile treatment programs,  all of which eventually closed under allegations of child abuse.  No one went to prison.  Straight's educational arm Straight Foundation, Inc. (DFAF) continues to flourish.  It continues to shape national and international drug policy.  It continues to make partnerships with companies involved in the drug testing industry and other drug policy establishment programs.  Partnerships with the likes of DATIA.   DATIA (Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association) is a Washington, DC -based association of over 1,000 members involved in drug and alcohol testing. It is an educational and a lobbying association and is a signer, along with DFAF, of the Amicus Brief.  On its web page  DATIA states:  

"Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined it is constitutional for schools to subject extracurricular participants to mandatory, suspicionless drug tests, DATIA is pleased host a comprehensive training workshop." 

This workshop is the  "Workshop on Implementing a Student Drug Testing Program" and will be held next month in Washington, DC.  The workshop is being co-sponsored by, among others,   Drug Free America Foundation,  Institute on Global Drug Policy (a division of DFAF), International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse (a division of DFAF), Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs (an organization which has worked closely with DFAF's Institute on Global Drug Policy and International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse), and Save Our Society From Drugs TM(SOS), a non-profit founded by Straight founder Betty Sembler.

For the complete story on DFAF's involvement with drug policy click here.

Related stories: Supreme Court Opinion.
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