Letter to the Editor

Your View: Students degraded

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

There are sadly two state functioning places where people are conformed to random searches of all sorts, forced to give bodily fluid samples, have random police K-9 unit scanning, are constantly watched by cameras and have their rights in general taken away. Unfortunately, those two places are the Sikeston public schools and the prison systems. If as a student you mistakenly brought a butter or steak knife with you to school for the purpose of cutting food you would probably be arrested and suspended or expelled. It has happened before in a public school setting. If a student happened to have a plastic bag containing a food or other item that in any way resembled an illegal substance they would be detained and arrested. Recently, there was a local little girl under the age of twelve that was arrested for having a plastic bag of mulch, rocks or something similar to that at a school playground. This kind of treatment is the modern: arrest-now-ask-questions-later attitude of some law enforcement --- an unjustifiable, unreasonable overkill of unnecessary enforcement lacking any and all common sense was used on this little girl; it is sad and in my opinion very wrong and should never be allowed to happen. In my own thinking it sounds borderline paranoid delusional. If as a student at middle school you tried to leave the school premises upon your own choosing the police may, and have as in times before be notified and become involved. Who should make the decisions and be involved in what is right for your child --- you or the public schools and police? You have just about the same amount of rights in public school now as you do in prison; minus the cages, orange suits, and the fact that at the end of the school day you go home. How and why is that necessary for a kid or young adult to excel in and enjoy their education? I understand that kids will be kids and sometimes they break rules but the current system is ridiculous and on the wrong path. The new Sikeston school urine testing program is; how do I say this --- an outright stupid decision by the school board. Forcing your kid to urinate into a plastic cup as an accessory to any part of their education is obviously crossing the border of degradation and invasion of privacy. The rebellious ones that do use illegal substances will simply and very easily find ways to beat the tests. The non-users will be embarrassed and humiliated.

This Sikeston school board has wonderful intentions but is in desperate need of the ability to deal with problems correctly. The public school system should be fully and completely school and parent based instead of running on a more school merged with police type basis. If the schools degrade your kids by making them give bodily fluid samples without your consent or agreement as a sub-ideology of education then where is education and life in general headed? Urine testing is and should be solely the decision of the parents and never of the public schools. In my opinion, Sikeston's public schools seem, in certain aspects, near socialistic to the point that changes in our education system are nothing less than mandatory. Everyone needs to do their part, work together and understand that the Sikeston schools need to focus on what they're there for: education and the betterment of the student's lives; at the same time protecting these kids from being degraded and humiliated. As for the police they do at times step beyond their boundaries. Currently, if the Sikeston school board attempts to force your kids to give a bodily fluid sample without your consent or agreement, in some way thinking it will further their education while attempting to protect them from themselves beyond the protector and instructor role of the child's parents --- make it known how you feel and simply wait for the next elections. Have a great day.

J.R. Dudley