News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ted Klaudt Gynecology Clinic opens branch in Aberdeen

Pat Powers over at the South Dakota War College is disgusted. If he wore thongs, they’d be tied in a series of granny knots. If he wore briefs, they’d be bunched up in the galling zone like a group of shoppers at 5 a.m. on Black Friday at the doors of Wal-Mart. I mean, he is torqued.

The Aberdeen School Board did it to him. The Aberdeen School Board does it to a lot of people. In PP’s case it is a very severe case of torquing. It made him say, “We’re the victims of altruism run wild.” A sentence like that is the first symptom of severe torquing. I think it means that he sees a bunch of altruists boobing him during a wild spring break. In any case, there are a bunch of boobies involved. In this case, they are the members of the Aberdeen School Board.

What knotted PP up so badly, I think, is one of the silliest semantic finagles I have ever come across. It put a few kinks in my own boxers. The Aberdeen School Board has approved a plan for making high school kids participate in a great big pee-in-a-bottle lottery. The idea is that each kid has to sign up for the lottery and four times a year the nice nurse ladies and gentlemen at St. Luke’s Avera Hospital will reach into the hat and draw the names of the winners. The winners get to pee in a bottle and have their urine tested for drugs. Whee.

The semantic finagle is in the statement that each student is required to sign up for voluntary drug testing which gives them the chance to pee in a bottle. Go figure.

The notion of high school kids lining up and wizzing in bottles sounds more like something that would originate in the fertile (as in egg) mind of Ted Klaudt. I suspect he is a consultant to the Aberdeen School Board.

I also note that the bottle-peeing is to be paid for by a grant. If grants are being given for peeing in bottles, they don’t have to have a lottery. I volunteer. I can be very productive. I could probably in the course of an afternoon fill all the bottles the testers need. And if the tests are sensitive to single-malt Scotch, we might hit the jackpot on occasion.

If I can stop giggling, there are some points to be made. The motive behind this pee-in-the-bottle fest is substance abuse. First, if a kid is a minor and his/her name is drawn, the parents have the chance to assent or decline the testing. If the kid is 18, he/she can decline or accept on their own. The school does not get the results of the test. The parents get them, and if a kid tests positive, the parents have the option of obtaining the services of a drug abuse counselor, in which case the school district will be informed. The news story on this did not indicate who gets the results if the kid is 18.

The virtue of this whole scheme is that it can be used as deterrent to the use of drugs. The school district can say that if you use drugs, your brain might come up with a policy like this.

Drugs and alcohol are serious problems among high school students. The reasons behind their use and abuse are what some people with functional brain cells need to address in terms of a solution. Being educated by people who think peeing in bottle is a solution is enough to drive anyone to drink and substance abuse.

The real issue is the matter of school boards. They were not conceived as a board of managers for the school district. They were conceived as a board which mediated between the professional staffs and the public constituents. The professional staff created the policies and practices and presented them to the board for approval or disapproval. If someone came up with a policy as dumb as the Aberdeen drug test lottery, the board could get rid of the poor sumbitch. Times have changed. School boards imagine themselves as corporate boards of directors that can dictate policy.

I am convinced that the problems with public education are the result of school boards gone wild with managerial powers. They have imposed ignorant, stupid, and silly policies on educators. The responsibility for educating and disciplining students needs to be returned to the people who actually do it everyday in the classrooms. That can be done with legislation defining the role of boards and administrators and giving the teaching staff some voice in who is hired to administer the academic programs.

Until that happens, we’ll have pee-in-the-bottle lotteries.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States