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Point of View: Letters from Lockney

Larry Tannahill

Larry's Open Letter to the Town of Lockney

Dateline: March 2001 Like many American citizens, I too had not thought much about the drug war until it burst into our front door. Independent school districts across our nation are trying to implement drug policy in the name of help[ing] our children. Instead, they are grabbing control of both children and parents. In the community where I live, "help the children" means three days in-school suspension, three sessions of drug counseling, and twenty-one days' suspension from extra-curricular activities. Under this policy, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. If parents refuse to have their children tested, the child is automatically considered guilty, with the same punishment. They call this "help the children?" All the drug counseling must be conducted by a school-approved center. Parents have no right to their own counseling options. This is what I call a power play, not "help our children." They are taking away from the kids the very thing parents need to help them.

Larry Tannahill, Farmer

Larry Tannahill

Drug prevention and help need to come from the home, not from self-proclaimed high-and-mighty school districts. A friend I had relayed a story to me about a teacher who took upon herself the initiative to call the parents of two children who came to her class under the influence of alcohol. The parents were most thankful for the teacher's call and were able to confront their children on their own terms. The children in question had not returned to school in that condition again, as far as he knew. I would like to praise this teacher for her courage and strength to do what was right. This is a fine example of the teachers we need today, not the guards our school districts seem to think we need.

I understand there are times when we need to use a firm hand, but we do not need to rule with an iron fist. Our children deserve the respect that we believe ourselves should have. Earning respect does not mean peeing in a cup. Helping children means giving them positive guidance, not negative punishment. I myself believe in my children, and also in the children who have not given a reason not to believe in them. Those who have stumbled should not be kicked while they are down, rather they should be given a helping hand up. Instead of being condemned, they need support to bring them back to the road of positive self-worth that our school districts are so ready to take away from them and their parents.

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An Update from Larry

Dateline: June 2003 Hi, this is the Tannahills, Larry, Traci, Brady & Coby.

Everything is going well for us. Traci just graduated from nursing school. Brady is now a sophomore, and is looking forward to it. He finished his algebra in the 8th grade and geometry as a freshman in high school.

Coby will become a small fish in a larger pond since he graduated 8th grade this year. I myself have been doing well and trying to sell a natural fertilizer product that is not too easy to sell. But we are making it, with God's help.

The school as you may know has resumed drug testing, under the Supreme Court ruling from Oklahoma. The school's lawyer has made it easy for Brady, but for Coby and the other students, the drug testing leaves them hanging.

Larry Tannahill is the father of two boys attending high school in Lockney. He filed suit against the Lockney ISD to stop mandatory drug testing for students.





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