A school district has adopted The Student Activities Drug Testing Policy, which requires all middle and high school students to consent to urinalysis testing for drugs in order to participate in any extracurricular activity. In practice, this policy has only been applied to athletics. Several athletes at the school do not want to take the drug tests; they believe they are unconstitutional.
What Constitutional Amendment is at issue here? [The 4th Amendment]
What do you think the Fourth Amendment protects? [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.]
What is a reasonable search in the school context? [The United States Supreme Court held in New Jersey v. T.L.O, 469 U.S. 325 (1985) that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures applied to searches conducted by school officials. However, the Court held that school administrators should not be held to the same probable cause standard as police officers. In other words, they need not have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, but rather the standard is whether the search was justified at its inception and reasonable in scope. Ordinarily, these searches will be justified at their inception when it is reasonable to suspect the search will “turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or rules of the school.” A search will be reasonable in scope when the school administrator adopts measures reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the sex of the student and nature of the infraction.”]
Do you think the students have a reasonable expectation of privacy here? What do you think the Court concluded? [“In any event, students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities voluntarily subject themselves to many of the same intrusions on their privacy as do athletes. Some of these clubs and activities require occasional off-campus travel and communal undress, and all of them have their own rules and requirements that do not apply to the student body as a whole. Each of them must abide by [the Secondary Schools Activities Association] rules, and a faculty sponsor monitors students for compliance with the various rules dictated by the clubs and activities. Such regulation further diminishes the schoolchildren's expectation of privacy.” The Court also concluded that collecting urine samples was minimally intrusive.]
What do you think the Court ruled about this policy? [The Supreme Court of the United States held that the policy was a reasonable means of furthering the school district’s important interest in preventing and deterring drug use among its school children and does not violate the Fourth Amendment.]
Do you agree with the Court? Do you think this policy effectively serves the school’s interest in protecting the students’ safety and health?