06 December 2011

CBC's Sheeple Prep Program

STLToday has a story today about CBC High School's mandatory drug-testing program, now at the five-year mark.  Officials of the self-identified Catholic school are quoted with glee about the "success" of the program, noting that there is "no refusal allowed by students or parents, and no one has ever refused".  Sounds like the perfect formation for the "real world", where grads can line up and be sexually assaulted at the airport, or be tracked on their smart phones, or any other indignities authorities of the burgeoning police state say they must endure. 

The full story is worth a cautionary read, but I wanted to cull a few quotes I found particularly appalling and post them here, with commentary: 

Using a small sample of hair, about 1.5 inches long, the test can identify whether use is light, moderate or heavy and can provide an approximation of when the drug was last used. 

It bears mentioning that the school is seeking knowledge of past activities of the student and are forcibly extracting testimony from their very body tissue.  Later, the article notes that the hair test will note drug usage for about 90 days.  So, CBC is potentially seeking to know what a student has done in their private lives even months before enrolling in the school. 

In his 23 years as president of CBC, _______ said the drug testing "has been one of the most positive things that's ever happened to our school."

"Our kids take pride that we're the only school in the state, as far as we know, that does mandatory drug testing for the entire student body and that the numbers are what they are." 

The president thinks that brainwashing children into taking pride in submitting to invasive drug tests is one of the most positive things that has ever happened to his school.  Where do I sign up! 

Parents find the program reassuring, while students take it in stride. 

In case you were wondering what would possess a parent to allow their children to be treated like criminals... 

"He tells me the test is absolutely no big deal," _______ said. "When he passes, a letter comes home from Ms. _______ congratulating him on passing. As a parent, that's a wonderful thing to get, a letter that tells you 100 percent that everything is OK." 

When the authorities give you a commendation for submission, you know that your hard work as a parent is all paying off. 

_______, of St. Charles, is president of the school's Parent Club and father to _______, who graduated CBC last year, and ______, a junior.

"I think this program is excellent because it gives our kids one more reason to stay away from drugs," he said. "Let's be frank, temptations are out there, and this gives kids another tool to fight against peer pressure. 

I think it is a little ironic that the president of the Parent Club is so anxious to pass off the job of being a parent to the school-- or should I say, to the contractor hired by the school to cut his childrens' hair in order to obtain evidence of criminal activity.  Threat of expulsion and prosecution is one way to discourage drug use.  So is parental oversight and formation in the Catholic faith.  I wonder what contractor has that job at CBC. 

Even in the 2007-2008 school year when testing was first done at CBC, 97.6 percent of students tested drug-free, she said. Afterward, the results were 98.7 percent for 2008-2009, 98.8 percent for 2009-2010 and 99.1 percent for 2010-2011.

"The testing was not started to be punitive or because we thought we had a problem," _________ said. 

Read those last two paragraphs again.  There you have statistical and testimonial proof that discouragement of drug use has nothing to do with this program, nor has drug usage significantly decreased (even if one attributes a cause-and-effect to the minuscule percentage decrease in positive test results).

However, other Christian Brothers schools across the country were doing such testing, she said.
"The reasons they've done it were like ours, because we care about our kids," she said. 

Ohhhhh, OK, as long as it's because they CARE about THEIR kids...

__________ said hair testing, which has always been the methodology used, is harder to mask than a urine test.

"Drugs only stay in urine for a few days, but hair testing gives you a 90-day window of usage," she said. "Also, a hair test is very noninvasive."

Sure, noninvasive.  Just taking your hair.  Not like submitting to electronic-image strip searches or groping of private parts.  It just conditions acceptance of such practices.  That makes it OK.

I don't see how CBC's forced drug testing program is forming capable Catholic citizens of a free society.  But maybe it's too late to worry about it anymore.

Tuition at CBC for the 2011-12 academic year is $11,980.

That'll buy a lot of drug tests.

But no human dignity.


Anonymous said...

"There's no refusal allowed by students or parents, and no one has ever refused".

Wow. Seems invasive on parental rights to me, but maybe that's my perception. Sounds like something out of the Godfather.


Latinmassgirl said...

Seems silly to bother drug testing when they didn't have a drug issue to begin with. Maybe they should start giving them other useless tests. How about pregnancy tests? Oh, yeah, all guys school . . but then you would know for sure, and it might be uplifting. . ..

YoungCatholicSTL said...

Timman -

I get your point with this one, but I have to say I disagree for several reasons (in the interest of full disclosure - I am a DeSmet grad and still consider CBC the enemy):

(1) This is not the government forcing the drug tests on students, this is a private institution. The parents and students do had a choice of whether or not to take the tests. No one is forcing the parents to send their sons to CBC, and, as this is the St. Louis area, there are plenty of other equally good private "Catholic" all boys high schools in St. Louis - 2 of which are located mere blocks from CBC (DeSmet and Priory). Regardless of your like/dislike of CBC, Priory, and DeSmet, I think we can all agree they are extremely similar institutions (especially DeSmet and CBC).

(2) These are students, not adults, that are being required to drug test. I readily admit my son is merely a year old, but as a parent, I believe my son must be subject to the rules I impose upon him (presuming those rules are ethical, practical and non-abusive). If one of those is to be drug tested, then he has to deal with it. Again, the parent knew (and the student knew) what he/she was getting into by sending their child there. And this way, as a parent, you might be able to further investigate a potential problem that an unruly, secretive teenager is keeping from you.

(3) Last time I checked, drugs are not only illegal, but highly addictive and detrimental to a child's health. This would be a different story if CBC had a policy against something that was legal, and was testing to see if students were using it outside of school. For example, if CBC had a policy against hair gel, and pulled hairs to see if students had used hair gel inside of or outside of the school year, then I'd agree with you. But drugs are illegal and can not only cause problems to the student and his grades, but can also cause many other problems to the society at large.

(4) As the old saying goes, if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.

That all said, I am inclinded to agree with Latinmassgirl - based on the percentages provided, they had roughly 5 students per class in a school of 1000 who had done drugs. Seems like a little much to institute drug tests when such a small percentage of the student body was using drugs.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the problem is that law that was passed a few years ago that requires certain folks to send their children to CBC.

Wait, what? There's no law?

Well, since CBC is the only private Catholic institution within driving distance, this is akin to coercion, and therefore a bad thing.

What? There are other Catholic schools?

I have to admit, Timman, I'm not feelin' you here. This is a private institution (or from a consitutional POV, an association) that is free to set it's own rules. If parents don't like those rules, or disagree with them on any grounds, they don't have to follow them, because they don't have to send their kids to CBC.

And let's not kid ourselves, "parental oversight and formation in the Catholic faith" is no guarantee that drug use will not occur. I don't think that sending my kids to CBC is the approach that I would take/prefer as a parent facing that problem, but I can see a set of circumstances where I might find that appropriate, either by delegating it to my kids' school, or by insisting on a drug test myself. What's the difference?

Wait a minute (and this is a serious question, even if asked somewhat derisively): I know you are a civil liberterian of some sort. You're not one of those legalize drugs sorts, are you?


Nancy Reagan*

* - Not really Nancy Reagan.

Anonymous said...

As someone who went to a Catholic HS when it started to drug test (in order to calm parents' fears after a couple of drug-related deaths) I can say that at least the testing we had didn't work given the drug use I knew about and no one ever got kicked out. Maybe the tests have gotten better, but what we did get was a feeling of being criminals, a disrespect for the honesty of the admin. since it was clear that the testing was not random (a troublemaker or two and the rest good kids, like me, who were tested just so no one failed probably), and the druggies got very creative in their drug use all the sudden. Smoking pot is far better any way you cut it than the problem drinking, the use of inhalants (which were the drug which lead to the testing to start with), and other very questionable highs that were reported online to not show up on the tests. Oh, and many of the girls felt humiliated by the hair cutting which they thought for sure we could all see.

Sure, it's legal and within the school's rights, but there are better (yes, harder) ways to deal with it. Oh, and I bet there is a, likely statistically significant, rise in alcohol abuse as a result of this policy, since the tests don't look for that (I know that happened at my school). Unintended consequences.