Is the guarantee of safety of others a compelling reason in which to form and maintain policies that make all school aged athletes or anyone who is involved in school based extra curricular activities subject to a mandatory drug screening or does this become a violation of constitutional rights? Can it be said that those in a choir or band recital pose just as much threat as those in vigorous sports and if so what kind of dangers do these people emit?
Just how far can schools go in their policies befire they become shut down indefinitely when it comes to making policies “For the greater good? ” It all started in 1995 when an Oregon school won their case in which they chose to make all athletes be drug tested. In an outcry the students filed suit and in the end it was the school who prevailed. Since then more and more schools are adopting or have done so or at least trying to adopt that same policy, many have succeeded with little to no issue while others have acted as the Acton family did in the Oregon case.
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Schools claim that in having a drug testing policy for athletes that this will help allay future endangerments and promote a healthier stance not only with the athletes but with the other students as well. Furthermore, the Oreogn school won their case for only those who are involved in athletics, not those that are involved in other extra curricular activities such as band or choir. The case in Oregon made in to the Supreme Court contenind violations of the fourth and fourteenth constitutional amendments.
The Fourth amendment protects us against unreasonable search and seizures and that we are protected within our homes as well as the schools in which we attend and any other facility. The word reasonable has come into play through the course of arguments when arguing that forcing drug testing with no reasonable grounds went against this. With each case being different, the definition of reasonable also expands.
The captain of a football team may be using as well as distributing and in this would lie reasonable cause for drug testing but the argument, as of 2000-2002, from yet another group challenging a school’s policy, is why should drug testing be enforced upon students when there is no reason visible per that student or group of students? But the Fourteenth amendment has also been cited; no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law and in forcing students to submit to drug testing simply because there is a policy allegedly violates this as suddenly they have been deprived of due process.
So once again, another group of students have stepped forward, some outraged at the fact of a drug policy being implemented, not only for those who are athletes or in extra curricular activities but for all students, regardless of any exhibits or lack thereof of drug use and regardless of any known or unknown associations with any person who is thought to be a user. Simply, the case of Earls v. Board of Education of Tecumseh Public School District claimed a definitive violation against them stoutly claiming the fourth amendment.
In favbor of the Earls case, the Drug Policy Alliance Network filed a brief regarding this case, also contesting mandatory drug screens for all students. It has been claimed that sports actually is haven for drug free children and thus a protection. According to experts from the “American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Education Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and several other prominent national organizations that thay all disagree with suspicionless drug testing of high school students engaged in extracurricular activities. ” (http://www. drugpolicy. org/law/drugtesting/students/ 3rd paragraph). So with all of this, 10th Circuit held that the drug testing policy at issue violated students' Fourth Amendment rights but in 2002 the Supreme Court reversed that decision and upheld that school’s policy and then the ACLU took notice of this case and along with other similar cases, is challenging these violations of the violated constitutional rights. While the ACLU and circuit courts strike down the policies of schools with regards to their drug testing policies, the Supreme Court and the National Drug Control agency are for it and each side is pushing forward to be heard.
Now the landmark of all of this is the fact that the 10th Circuit Court ruled against the Board of Education, the Supreme Court then came along and ruled back in favor of the Board of Education and in the same month the Supreme Court ruled against the Board of Education. A Supreme Court ruling against each other in the same month, unheard of. Justice Ginsburg in a subtle fashion held the school responsible more for their lack of proper concern and reasons in which to hold every child in punishment form for something that only some have done.
He claimed this disregard as if the tutelary responsibility was being taken a lot to far. To this day, this last decision has not been reversed. Any school intervention or other law enforcement intervention upon a student’s rights while at school must closely abide by the Vernonia, Oregon ruling of reasonableness. With these different factions going back and forth over what is quickly becoming an age old argument both sides have valid points but in the end it needs to be realized that drug testing students just because they can has proven to be of little to no use, not to mention a definite violation of legalities.
Expert opinions of kids being driven away from sports due to this policy holds high validity. Where a child might be currently using, sports may also be the place that gets the child to stop using. In the end, regardless of testing, children will use and always have access to drugs should this be their decision and no school policy or court opinion will deter that. It hasn’t in hundreds of years and it isn’t about to start now.
- BOARD OF ED. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE CTY. V. EARLS (01-332) 536 U. S. 822 (2002) 242 F. 3d 1264, reversed. June 27, 2002 .
- http://www. law. cornell. edu/supct/html/01-332. ZD1. html NPR. Nina Totenburg. The Supreme Court and 'Brown v. Board of Ed. Feb 6, 2009
- http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=1537409 Drug Testing Students. Drug Policy Alliance Network. 2009.
- Http://www. drugpolicy. org/law/drugtesting/students/ Reasonline. com.
- The Supreme Court's ruling on school drug testing will hurt public schools more than the one on vouchers. July 1, 2002. http://www. reason. com/news/show/32704.
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