- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 23, 2002

Just say no

The 10 top reasons why the Supreme Court should vote to support student drug testing:

Adam, 18, deceased.
Mark, 24, deceased.
Garrett, 22, deceased.
David, 26, deceased.
Billy, 17, deceased.
Cooper, 22, deceased.
Ian, 21, deceased.
Angela, 18, deceased.
Michael, 22, deceased.
Stephanie, 19, deceased.

The parents of these young people believe their children might still be living had their school systems supported their parental message of "no drugs" by drug testing the students.
Seven of the 10 died of heroin overdoses, two died from cocaine, and one died in a drug-related accident. All of their parents believe the children started drug use by smoking marijuana.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), more than 16,000 young people die of drug overdoses every year. ONDCP conducted a study of more than 2 million death certificates and determined that the total number of drug-related deaths exceeds 50,000.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing a school drug testing case to determine if schools are required to show drug and alcohol use before testing. We believe that public schools should not be required to show drug or alcohol use by students prior to implementing random testing. We believe the need to deter drug use by all students and protect their safety is cause enough to uphold random drug testing.
Recently, Congress included a provision (Section 4115) in the Education Bill to allow states and local jurisdictions to use Safe and Drug-Free Schools funds for student drug testing.
Other reasons for student drug testing would include: violence, dropouts, school underachievement, teen pregnancy, teacher safety, classroom disruption, keeping drug dealers off school property, and the expense of supporting "alternative schools" to educate drug-using students (Fairfax County operates more than 30 alternative schools to accommodate students with drug, alcohol and various delinquent problems).

JOYCE NALEPKA
President
Drug-Free Kids: America's Challenge
Silver Spring

Joyce Nalepka, president of Nancy Reagan's National Federation of Parents during the Reagan administration, co-sponsored the bill that closed Maryland's drug paraphernalia shops.



'The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom'

I was amused to read that, according to letter writer Nancy Karlen, the scientific "evidence" supporting the theory of evolution includes bacteria resistant to antibiotic medicine ("Evolution is based on science," March 18). I'm going to go out on a limb and assert that evolutionary theory requires a bit more support than is provided by the mutation of streptococcal bacteria in response to medicines.
Evolutionists like to wrap themselves in the cloak of science, but the theories they expound are just that theories. The mechanisms that would, without the help of "intelligent design," make the debris of the universe spring to life and then evolve into sentient beings such as ourselves have not been discovered. Those, apparently including Ms. Karlen, who believe that life on Earth evolved by accident are relying on faith just as much as those who believe that God created the world in seven days.
Here's what the philosopher John Locke wrote more than 300 years ago: "The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation that a rational creature who will but seriously reflect on them cannot miss the discovery of a deity." With all due respect to Ms. Karlen, I'm going to stick with Locke until she and her fellow investigators produce better evidence for their theory.

STEVEN LENT
Arlington


Open and democratic, that's the NEA

The March 16 editorial, "The organized labor loophole," perpetuates unfounded charges made against the National Education Association.
The NEA scrupulously adheres to all federal and state requirements regarding its expenditures. The NEA does spend dues money to lobby Congress to improve the quality of public education. It also spends dues money to communicate with its affiliates and members about candidates for public office. Such expenditures are entirely lawful and are not reportable under regulations of the Internal Revenue Service.
Since 1857, the purpose and mission of the NEA has been to promote the cause of public education and elevate the teaching profession. Obviously, any organization that attempts to have an impact on education and ignores the political and legislative environment does so at its peril.
The NEA goes to great length to inform its members and leaders about our programs and activities. The budget and policies of the NEA are voted on annually by 9,500 delegates from across the nation.
No organization that I am aware of operates in a more democratic or open fashion.

BOB CHASE
President
National Education Association
Washington


West Point graduates fought for North and South

Taking a page from Bill O'Reilly's program on Fox News, the most ridiculous item of the day appeared in Oliver North's March 17 Commentary column, "Remembering duty, honor and country."
Arguing that the media bypassed an opportunity to acknowledge the 200th commemoration of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Mr. North cited a number of distinguished graduates of that institution. In so doing, he included one general Ulysses S. Grant who fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War, and four Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart and Braxton Bragg who fought for the Confederacy.
If, as the headline of his piece implies, he means to address "duty, honor and country," would not it have been best to cite at least an equal number of West Point graduates who fought on the side of the United States as those who fought against it in the Civil War? Therefore, I nominate three additional names to Mr. North's list.
The first would be George Gordon Meade (West Point 1835), who defeated Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg in a crucial battle that was the turning point of the war. Next is Philip Henry Sheridan (West Point 1853), who galvanized the Union cavalry and ended Stuart's participation in the battle at Yellow Tavern. Finally, I nominate William Tecumseh Sherman (West Point 1840), who captured Atlanta in 1864 and helped guarantee the re-election of President Lincoln.
In his choice of Confederate generals, however inappropriate for this column, Mr. North did well in selecting Lee, Jackson and Stuart (West Point 1829, 1846 and 1854, respectively). Few, however, in either North or South would have remembered Bragg (West Point 1837) so fondly as to have included him in this pantheon.

THOMAS J. RYAN
Bethany Beach, Del.

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