In regard to Gov. Lingle’s recent contract offer to Hawaii public school teachers

In her current contract offer to the public school teachers of Hawaii, Governor Linda Lingle is requiring that all public school teachers submit to random drug testing in exchange for a pay increase.

First of all, there is no epidemic of public school teachers using or selling illegal drugs. Period. The thought of any state worker interacting with children while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is abhorrent to any sane person. The vast majority of public school teachers in Hawaii do not use, or promote the sale of, illegal drugs, just as I’m quite sure that the majority of state workers, including those in the Hawaii State Legislature, do not use, or promote the sale of, illegal drugs. So if we assume that there is a small fraction of all state workers using, or promoting the sale of, illegal drugs, then why is Gov. Lingle singling out Hawaii’s public school teachers for mandatory random drug testing?

If the public school teachers of Hawaii ratify the contract as it stands, they will gain a temporary monetary reward and in return will give up a priceless commodity, their fourth amendment right as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Gov. Lingle’s contract offer to the public school teachers of Hawaii is typical the Bush/Rove style of conservative Republican politics that she endorses. She forces teachers to give up a Constitutional right in exchange for a pay increase, and then paints them as un-American protectors of drug addicts if they cry fowl. If she really cared about weeding out drug users from state jobs, she could easily do so with the processes currently in place. But since the media loves scandal, Gov. Lingle is using this teacher contract to force teachers to wear the scarlet “D.” 

At the end of the day, if the contract is ratified, many honest, sober, hard working public school teachers in the state of Hawaii will see another constitutional right taken away, and the Bush/Rove/Lingle conservatives will gain another victory in their quest to dismantle public education and weaken organized labor. Teachers Wake Up! Don’t Ratify!

Speaking as an individual,

Bob Underwood

Public School Teacher

Molokai, Hawaii


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