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Test receives passing grade . . . for now

Let's see, suppose it's my kid. Or yours. Isn't that the best way to relate? We're talking a high school athlete. Yours. Mine. Boy next door. Girl across the street. Probably a kid not into drugs, or so we think.

I only can ask myself, as a parent. Does it irritate me that the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday flung open locker room doors to drug tests?

Yes and no.

Yes, it's queasy stuff to surrender a constitutional protection of privacy. Testing for drugs without probable cause can be license to badger. It bends hard toward a system of guilty until proven innocent.

What happens when an athlete flunks a drug test? Does he or she get suspended from playing ball? Or even kicked off the team? Perhaps booted out of school?

How many cases will there be of a jock getting busted and winding up on a faster track to real health bedevilment? Out of sports, out of school, out on the streets and far deeper into drugs?

Concerns are endless.

Any time we give up freedoms, it can be a slippery slope. What's next? Tinkle tests in the interest of assessing our religious or political leanings?

But I am torn.

Ultimate view from home.

No, after ample consideration, it would not bother me if my kid, the athlete, was subject to urinalysis, random or otherwise. As long as he or she is treated like everyone else. As long as there is a local board of appeal, where claims of test abuses can be publicly aired.

Political left-handers will hammer me. The ACLU will be offended. But my view on this one must be highly personal. Concerned above all with the children I know best. Including from my house. If I care about them, am I not doing the best I can to care about all teens?

Concern begins in the 'hood.

Don't know about you, but if my kid were doing drugs, I'd absolutely want to know. If it takes a Supreme Court-mandated test at school, I think I can live with that.

Ignorance does nobody any good. What if, with test revelations, hurts of today can be effectively treated before mushrooming into disasters of tomorrow? We can only hope that for every downside of this Supreme Court ruling there are a dozen upsides.

For me, a beautiful flip side is obvious. It is difficult to see how it could be anything but comforting to have my favorite high schooler, or yours, while being periodically drug-tested, come up clean-clean-clean.

But, back to yes stuff.

Something about this unquestionably bugs me. Why are we talking athletes only? What's good for the linebacker, point guard or softball pitcher also should be applicable for the tuba player, thespian and debating-team captain.

Jocks only?

That is discrimination.

Is the Supreme Court saying that athletes should be more suspected of drug use than eggheads? How can six justices see that as a fair approach, even if the National Basketball Association and National Football League do have far more certifiable drug abuses than the National Honor Society.

This involves children. Adolescents. Teens. Neophytes in life. Until they're better equipped to look out for themselves, they are in heavy need of our counsel, our shelter, our care, our supervision and our love.

All of them.

Not just athletes.

We can't be sure how the Supreme Court's decision will shake down. Schools must proceed with care. With conscience. This cannot be a witch hunt. Or mini-McCarthyism.

Any time there is a hint that school board implementation has any goal but to help the most children possible, the brakes should be slammed. Methods restudied.

This isn't going to be easy. It won't be fun. Many parents will rebel. Many kids. But, always, I must revert to thinking about it as a parent who cares. How it might relate to my kid, pro or con.

We all should do that.

But I'm not sure there can be enough oratory to convince me that athletes only should be involved. Whether it's good for jocks, or not, nobody can be sure. But what the highest court has deemed as applicable to athletes should absolutely be deemed as applicable to all.

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