Drug Testing in Public Schools
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Drug Testing
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So, how exactly does drug testing in a public school relate to the Fourth Amendment? Well, requiring a student to undergo a drug test is considered to be a "search" that falls within the meaning of this constitutional provision. Remember, the Fourth Amendment guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons…from unreasonable searches." Let’s take a look at how case law has constructed the way in which this provision applies to public school students in the United States.

In the 1995 case of Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, the Supreme Court held that random drug testing for public school students who participated in athletic programs was constitutional (515 U.S. 646). The Court reiterated how the role of school officials was not only custodial in nature, but also a function of the State. This holding was later expanded to include those students who participated in any competitive extracurricular activities. Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, 536 U.S. 822, 838 (2002).

So what does this mean for you and your child? In very recent times, the Supreme Court has determined that your son or daughter could be required to submit to random urinalysis testing if he or she participates in competitive, school-related activities. More likely than not, your child would only be asked to submit to such testing if school officials had reason to believe that he or she was engaging in drug-related behavior.

Finally, let’s wrap this article up by going over a few key points.